“If this government had a conscience and some shame, all of them including the president would have resigned in the first two days. However, they have neither the shame nor the conscience to resign” said Pervin Buldan, HDP co-chair. “Everyone has one request — for them to resign as soon as possible. What are you waiting for? The only thing that needs to be done politically, morally and in good conscience is to resign.”
Leader of nationalist opposition IVI (Good) Party Meral Akesener said it was “remarkable” that all the failures in organization and coordination of relief efforts after the earthquake hadn’t led to any government officials resigning. “The AKP and Erdogan (think they) have no responsibility. Tens of thousands of our people have died, but there hasn’t been a single resignation” Homeland Party (MP) leader Muharrem Ince said.
Prof. Ovgun Ahmet Ercan, an earthquake expert, called on Environment Minister Murat Kurum to resign saying it would be “a very honorable departure” if he were to leave his position to a competent scientist who can do it successfully in order to give some relief to the wounded heart of the public… You aren’t solely responsible for the extraordinary destruction in the earthquake zone … However, you have been in power for 20 years. If necessary work had been done during that time, the losses could have been greatly reduced and all the structures there could have been transformed.”
The People’s Liberation Party (HKP) has filed a criminal complaint against Erdogan and two ministers due to claims that Erdogan prevented the military from joining in search and rescue efforts. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar are alleged to have met with Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Aksoy to discuss response steps to be taken. They are said to have agreed on the use of the armed forces to which Erdogan strongly objected, making the armed forces unable to participate from the outset. Small military units were only allowed to join later. Erdogan is reported to have feared an army coup and, even then, he did not want the military to win the people’s appreciation.
Turkish Physicians Union filed a complaint against government officials they claim are responsible for the collapse of a hospital destroyed by earthquakes resulting in 70 deaths of doctors and patients in Hatay. The complaint said that the officials be charged for murder.
The Turkish Diyanet Foundation (TDV) Board of Trustees Second President Ihsan Acik took chance to announce: “We immediately sent 15 ,000 copies of the Quran to the region and new copies are now being printed (because) there was a huge demand… A part of our children’s books have reached the region. We are in an effort that every region has children’s books on hand.” We have officials (on site) to perform religious guidance… Diyanet has been trying to help victims since the first day…”
Who would not question this? The Diyanet this financial year has been allocated bigger funds than some ministries while that of the Turkey Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has been reduced. Does that make budgeting sense in an earthquake-prone country? AFAD is the only body with authority to coordinate search and rescue operations and relief efforts. In 2010 Turkey revoked the Protocol on Security Public Order and Assistance (EMASYA) which was signed by the Turkish General Staff and the Ministry of the Interior in 1997 authorizing the army to intervene in the event of a natural disaster without waiting for a request from the governor’s office.
God forgive. Didn’t the victims first need a healthy body before the arrival of the holy and children’s books? Which religious body is this that puts the health and safety (life) of the faithful last? There is a motto which says in Latin: Mens sana in corpore sano – meaning a sound mind is in a sound body. One caption I read about a Hatay funeral is enough to demand Diyanet executives’ resignations. It said: “No shroud, no ceremony, no identity. Burial with olive and myrtle (myrrh).” And Diyanet rushes to the earthquake site with copies of the Quran, leaving behind more print orders? Was this religion, aid, or business? The approach was lacking.
Another very untimely and unfortunate Diyanet action is that in these circumstances, it finds time to deliberate on and issue a directive saying foster families can marry adopted quake children. Is that what the people of Turkey want to hear at this point in time from their top faith caretaker? Shame. In which world does the Diyanet live so that it proves itself ignorant of what is taking place in Turkey? Why should the Diyanet be so unreasonable that it can be likened to a husband trying to pull a kiss from a wife in labour? What sort of love would that be?
Going back to the Hatay tragedy, how sincere can a mayor, it doesn’t matter from the ruling or opposition, pretend to be when he ignores the fact that resignation would have been a very honorable act for someone who was the guest of honor at the wedding of the son of the owner of Ozburak Construction, which owns the largest number of buildings destroyed in the earthquake?
That is Erdogan’s Turkey –with or without the earthquakes and their aftermath. Turkey is a country run more on trustee rather than elections mode. And in these circumstances, loyalty of officials in across the board goes to the ruler. The usual global lines of accountability, ethics, good governance, respect for human rights can go hang. That is where Turkey is at the moment. It’s corruption at its best – from the results of the 2013 December 17-25 investigation reports to the political humanitarian aid blockage of the 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquakes. It’s power first. Turkey is one country, one ruler.