Earthquake survivors were sabotaging Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the disaster zone by shouting out their demands, and they had no right to do so, Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the government’s far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), told them on Tuesday.
Some earthquake survivors in a tent city chanted slogans at the MHP leader and others stated their demands, during his visit to the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaraş (Mereş), which Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) named as the epicentre of the 6 February earthquakes that devastated ten provinces in south and southeast Turkey, causing more than 45,000 deaths.
“You have no right to sabotage the visit of our president and other officials with such slogans on a day of our suffering. There will be silence!” said Bahçeli. Then he added pointing to the group shouting slogans, “Disperse them all! Away with them!”
The footage of the incident drew a nationwide backlash on social media. Bahçeli, in his speech just before the incident, had said that their visit to the region was indeed very meaningful.
“The herd accusing the state and the government is faulty and malicious,” Bahçeli had said on Monday after it was revealed that the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) had sold tents to charity organisations working in the disaster region instead of distributing the tents to victims after the earthquake.