As Friday marks the 40th day of the twin earthquakes that hit Turkey’s south and southeast as well as Syria’s northwest, claiming the lives of around 57,000 people in the two countries, mourning ceremonies were held in several cities of Turkey for those who lost their lives in the devastating disaster.
The representatives of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and Green Left Party attended the commemorations in the disaster zones that suffered great destruction due to the earthquake.
The Turkish government’s rent-seeking policies and their hostility to certain people and their beliefs are the reasons for the high death toll, DBP Co-Chair Salihe Aydeniz said at the mourning ceremony in the eastern province of Malatya (Meletî).
“Forty days have passed, while there is still a lack of tents and hot water as well as a debris problem. This government’s only concern is rent,” Aydeniz said.
In the mourning ceremony in the Samandağ district of Hatay, one of the most damaged provinces in the earthquake, HDP Co-chairman Mithat Sancar, addressing the government, asked where the taxes collected to take precautions against the earthquake were spent.
“We saw it once again, the thing that will protect us from this disaster and offer us a dignified life is our solidarity, our own strength,” said Sancar. “It is constantly said that there might be disasters ahead of us. We will carry out all kinds of struggles that will use the state’s resources to prepare for these.”
“The only way out of this disaster is cooperation and solidarity,” said the HDP’s Zeynel Özen, stating that rent-seeking policies were implemented under the name of urban transformation by the government.
The HDP released a video on its social media account emphasising the incompetence of the government after the earthquake, with a note, “It’s been #40 days. We couldn’t mourn. You will be held to account.”
#40 gün oldu. Yasımızı tutamadık. Hesap vereceksiniz. pic.twitter.com/vlt5Es7tmp
— HDP (@HDPgenelmerkezi) March 17, 2023
In the aftermath of the 6 February earthquakes, Turkey’s current government has been receiving nationwide criticism due to the lack of inspection in building strength standards and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s zoning amnesties that gave licenses to illegal buildings, as well as the inadequacy of the authorities in search and rescue efforts and the deficiencies in the delivery of aid that should be sent to the earthquake zones.
There is also a widespread opinion that the Turkish government’s inefficient disaster relief work was due to its discrimination against minorities since the epicentre of the earthquakes was an area densely populated by Kurdish and Alevi people.