Friday, February 10, 2023

Erdogan faces voter rage in Turkey's earthquake zone

'Shame on you!': Erdogan faces voter fury in Turkey earthquake zone


ADIYAMAN: Days after Turkey experienced its worst disaster in generations, Hakan Tanriverdi has a straightforward message for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Don't come looking for votes here.

Over 21,000 people were killed in the earthquake in Turkey and Syria at one of the most contentious political points during Erdogan's two decades in power.

A crucial election on May 14 has been proposed by the Turkish leader, which could keep his Islamic-rooted government in power until 2028.

His divided opposition has little time before the date to settle their differences and select a joint presidential candidate.

It remains to be seen whether that vote can now proceed as planned.

In 10 of the provinces affected by the earthquake, Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency. Numerous people are living on the streets or in their cars as the region continues to exhume its deceased.

It seems impossible to campaign in this location.

However, there is also a political aspect that Erdogan finds deeply personal.

The earthquake occurred just as he was beginning to gain momentum and raise his approval ratings from a low that they had reached during the devastating economic crisis that erupted last year.

In a province in which Erdogan easily defeated his secular opposition rival in the most recent election in 2018, Tanriverdi's animosity is a negative sign for Erdogan.

Regarding the government's response to the earthquake, Tanriverdi stated, "We were deeply hurt that no one supported us."

In the Adiyaman province, which was one of the hardest hit by the earthquake, Tanriverdi's complaints are common.

Locals lament that rescuers were unable to extract those who had survived the initial critical hours in time. A lack of equipment to drill through concrete slabs was cited by some.

Mehmet Yildirim, a resident of Adiyaman, stated, "I did not see anyone until 2:00 pm on the second day of the earthquake."

"There is no state, government, police, or military. You are a sham! You left us alone."

On Wednesday, Erdogan acknowledged "deficits" in the government's response to the catastrophe.

However, he is also retaliating. The 68-year-old toured a number of devastated cities over the next two days after leading a rescue response meeting on Tuesday in Ankara.

He has not yet gone to Adiyaman.

That irritates volunteer Hediye Kalkan, who traveled nearly 150 kilometers (95 miles) to assist with the Adiyaman rescue and recovery effort.

On a day like this, "why doesn't the state show itself?" She insisted.

"People are disposing of the bodies of their relatives on their own."

Any rescue effort would be difficult due to the disaster's sheer scale and timing—spanning a vast, remote area in the midst of a winter storm.

In carefully orchestrated visits that have been shown on national television, Erdogan has generally received a warm reception from the local population.

Erdogan was embraced by an elderly woman who wept on his shoulder as she emerged.

If given the chance to confront the Turkish leader, Veysel Gultekin might not act in the same manner.

After running out onto the street following Monday's predawn tremor, Gultekin claimed that he had observed one of his relatives' feet trapped beneath the rubble.

Gultekin stated, "I could have pulled him out alive if I had a simple drill." However, he was completely trapped, and he died after a powerful aftershock."

On Thursday, AFP reporters saw additional machinery and rescuers, including international teams, around collapsed buildings.

However, this did not alleviate Tanriverdi's suffering.

He stated, "Those who didn't die from the earthquake were left to die in the cold." People who have been left to die in this manner, isn't that a sin?"

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