🔴Immediately after the #earthquake, with the help of millions of individuals, civil initiatives organised aid to affected areas. Now, the Turkish gov't masks its own ineffective response by monopolising on aid efforts says #HDP spksp.
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) February 17, 2023
The Turkish government seeks to monopolise on humanitarian aid in order to hide its ineffectiveness in responding to the crisis, Turkey’s top pro-Kurdish opposition party said on Thursday after the authorities confiscated their earthquake relief materials the previous day.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) called on the international community to closely follow how the government blocks social solidarity networks and hinders humanitarian aid provision, in a statement by co-spokespersons for Foreign Affairs Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy.
“While people are experiencing unbearable pain due to the earthquakes that killed tens of thousands of people and left millions homeless, the government of Turkey has been ineffective in rescue missions and in responding to vital needs of people such as food and shelter. Overcoming its initial shock and panic, the government is now using emergency rule powers to cover up its failures by hindering or unlawfully taking over the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid organised by NGOs, political parties, or ordinary people across the country,” the statement follows.
HDP launched an international aid campaign to reach earthquake victims in all provinces affected by the 6 February earthquakes and established a Crisis Coordination Desk to identify needs in the disaster zones and distribute incoming aid.
On Wednesday, the Pazarcık (Bazarcix) district governorship of the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş (Mereş), one of Turkey’s most affected provinces in the 6 February earthquakes, confiscated aid provided by the HDP’s Crisis Coordination Centre, along with aid supplied by other local associations. The governor stated that the earthquake relief operations would be carried out by coordinators appointed by the Governorship.
“We are calling out the government. This is a mental eclipse,” said HDP Co-Chair Pervin Buldan in a press release on Wednesday after the incident. “You don’t have the right to prevent aid while people are suffering from hunger, cold and a great disaster. No one has the right to that.”
HDP said that it will continue efforts to provide urgent aid to the victims despite governmental obstructions.
Immediately after the earthquake, NGOs, trade unions, community associations, political parties and celebrities, with the help of millions of citizens’, organised for aid to be delivered to affected areas and mobilised volunteer rescue teams from all over Turkey.
The government, which was criticised for not delivering rescue teams and aid to the earthquake areas on time, especially in the first days after the disaster, has targeted these earthquake relief campaigns.