Earthquake in Turkey: Erdogan asks “forgiveness” for the delay in relief

Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized to his people on Monday for the delay in relief efforts in areas affected by the February 6 earthquake.

VP with AFP

Recep Tayyip Erdogan explains that it was impossible to prepare for such a disaster.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan explains that it was impossible to prepare for such a disaster.

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Il was criticized and he admitted his mistakes. Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked “forgiveness” Monday February 27 to the inhabitants of the province of Adiyaman, in the south-east of Turkey, one of the most affected by the devastating earthquake of February 6, for the delays in the arrival relief.

“Due to the devastating effect of the tremors and bad weather, we weren’t able to work the way we wanted in Adiyaman for the first few days. I ask forgiveness for this,” said the Turkish head of state during a visit to this province, three weeks after the earthquake that killed more than 44,000 people in Turkey and also affected neighboring Syria.

The Turkish president, in power for twenty years and who wishes to remain in office during the elections scheduled for May 14, has come under strong criticism from survivors who blame the state for the slowness of relief.

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A shy mea culpa

Four days after the disaster, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sketched out a form of mea culpa, already to Adiyaman, without however asking for forgiveness. “The destruction affected so many buildings […] that, unfortunately, we were not able to carry out our interventions as quickly as hoped,” he said at the time. He also acknowledged “shortcomings” in the response to the earthquake, adding that it is “impossible to be prepared for such a disaster”.

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In this province and that of Hatay, also very affected, survivors expressed their anger to Agence France-Presse a few days after the natural disaster. One of them, Mehmet Yildirim, said on February 10 that he had seen “no one”, “no state, no police, no soldiers” before “2 p.m. on the second day of the earthquake”, i.e. 34 hours after the first shock.

The disgruntled people

He had accused the authorities of having left the population “on their own” in the province of Adiyaman. This weekend, it was football supporters from Istanbul clubs who also shouted their discontent in the stadiums, calling for the resignation of the government.

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On Monday, the Turkish president promised the construction of nearly 50,000 new homes in this province of Adiyaman out of a total of 309,000 that should come out of the ground in the eleven provinces affected by the earthquake.

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