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Grief gives way to anger over Turkey's earthquake response

 ANTAKYA: When Zafer Mahmut Boncuk's apartment building collapsed during the devastating earthquake in Turkey, he discovered that his 75-year-old mother was still alive, but she was trapped beneath the rubble.

In the ancient, devastated city of Antakya, Boncuk frantically searched for someone who could assist him in freeing her for hours. He could converse with her, hold her hand, and provide her with water. However, despite his pleas, no one showed up, and she passed away on Tuesday, the day after the earthquake.

His grief and disbelief have turned to rage, as have many others in Turkey, because he believes there has been an unfair and ineffective response to the historic disaster that has killed tens of thousands in Turkey and Syria.

Boncuk was furious at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, especially because she appeared to be in danger but no one came to save her. On Sunday, nearly a week after the building collapsed, her remains were finally removed. The wreckage still contains his father's body.

Dear Recep Tayyip Erdogan, what would happen if it were your mother? What became of being a global leader? Where are you now? Where?” He yelled.

"I cleared her face of rubble and gave her water to drink. I promised to save her, I told her. However, I failed,” Boncuk, 60, stated. I asked if I could help her drink some water the last time we spoke. I rubbed some water on her lips after she said no. She passed away ten minutes later."

"Ignorance and lack of information and care — that's why my mother died before my eyes," he said.

Similar anger is expressed by many in Turkey over the agonizingly slow pace with which rescue efforts have progressed since the quakes on February 6 and the wasted opportunity to locate survivors.

Others, particularly in the southern part of Hatay province near the border with Syria, believe that Erdogan's government delayed providing assistance to the most affected area for political and religious reasons.

Elif Busra Ozturk waited outside the wreckage of a building on Saturday in the southeast town of Adiyaman, where the bodies of two of her cousins had already been discovered and where her uncle and aunt were trapped and believed to be dead.

I waited outside for help for three days. Nobody arrived. She stated that because there were so few rescue teams, they could only intervene in areas where they were certain that people were still alive.

Abdullah Tas, 66, claimed that he had been sleeping in a car near the structure where his son, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren were buried at the same complex. He stated that the earthquake occurred four days before rescuers arrived. His claim could not be independently verified by the Associated Press.

"What good is that for those living beneath the rubble?" He pressed.

Saturday in Antakya, spectators watched as bulldozers attacked a luxury high-rise apartment building that had fallen on its side behind police tape.

Relatives who were watching the recovery effort said that the 12-story building had more than 1,000 residents when the quake struck. They claimed that hundreds of people were still trapped, but they said that the effort to free them had been slow and not very serious.

Bediha Kanmaz, 60, stated, "This is an atrocity, I don't know what to say." His son's and his 7-month-old grandson's bodies had been removed from the building while they were still encircled, but his daughter-in-law was still inside.

“We are checking to see if they are our children when we open body bags to see if they are ours. She referred to both herself and other grieving relatives, saying, "We're even checking the ones that are torn to pieces."

Kanmaz also said that the government of Turkey was to blame for the slow response and that the national rescue service didn't do enough to save people.

She and others in Antakya believed that the government had given Alevis, an Anatolian Islamic community distinct from Sunni and Shia Islam and Alawites in Syria, a low priority because they were a large minority. Alevis typically cast few votes for Erdogan's ruling party. However, there was no evidence that the area was overlooked for religious reasons.

Erdogan claimed on Wednesday that disaster relief efforts were continuing in each of the ten affected provinces and called claims that state institutions like the military did not provide assistance “lies, fake slander.”

However, he has acknowledged his flaws. Officials said that bad road conditions and the destruction of the runway at the local airport made rescue efforts in Hatay difficult at first.

However, not everyone is outraged at the extent of the destruction. The justice minister has pledged to punish those responsible for the collapse of collapsed buildings, and Turkish authorities have been detaining or issuing detention warrants for dozens of individuals.

However, not everyone is outraged at the extent of the destruction. The justice minister has pledged to punish those responsible for the collapse of collapsed buildings, and Turkish authorities have been detaining or issuing detention warrants for dozens of individuals.

Kanmaz said that the developer of the apartment building where her family had died had been negligent.

She stated, "I would rip the contractor to shreds if I could wrap my hands around his neck."

Turkey's official news agency, Anadolu, reported that contractor, who was in charge of building the 250-unit building, was detained at Istanbul Airport on Friday before boarding a flight out of the country. He was taken into custody legally on Saturday. His attorney said that the public was looking for someone to blame.

Other tensions are rising in the multiethnic southern region of Turkey. Some people expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that Syrian refugees who fled their devastating civil war to the region are burdening the sparse welfare system and competing with Turkish residents for resources.

Hatay has a lot of poor people, but they don't give us any help; The Syrians receive it. Kanmaz stated, "They give the Syrians so much." More Syrians than Turks live here.

On Saturday, there were indications that tensions might reach boiling point.

The Austrian Armed Forces and two German aid groups temporarily halted their rescue efforts in the Hatay region out of concern for the personnel's safety. A spokesperson for the Austrian Defense Ministry tweeted that they resumed work after the Turkish army secured the area.

Lt. said, "There is increasing tension between various groups in Turkey." Col. The Austrian Armed Forces' Pierre Kugelweis informed the APA news agency. Apparently, shots have been fired.”

According to the German news agency dpa, I.S.A.R. Germany's chief of operations Steven Berger stated that "it can be seen that grief is slowly giving way to anger" in Turkey's affected regions.

It was a mixture of grief and rage for Kanmaz.

I'm enraged. She declared, "Life is over." We are devoted to our children; We are most concerned about our children. If they exist, we exist. We are done now. It's over with everything you see here.

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