Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told an earthquake survivor that the earthquake was part of destiny’s plan, during his visit to Kahramanmaraş, the epicentre of Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake on the third day of search and rescue efforts.
“The damage is done,” Erdoğan said. “These things are part of destiny’s plan.”
The President updated the death toll, which increases every minute, to 9,057. The number of injured is 52,979; the number of destroyed buildings is 6,444.
Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been criticised for negligence and an inadequate response following Monday’s major earthquakes which affected 10 predominantly Kurdish cities in southeastern Turkey.
During his visit, Erdoğan admitted that there were some problems in the initial response to the earthquakes on Monday, but he said that “the situation was under control on the second day and today.”
“I believe that my citizens have shown the same patience in this disaster as my nation has shown in such disasters so far. And they will show again in the future,” said Erdoğan and announced that a support of TL10,000 ($530) will be paid to families affected by the earthquake.
It is not the first time Erdoğan defined disasters as fate in the face of criticism against the government.
Previously, Erdoğan said that the mining accident in Bartın in October 2022, which killed 42 workers, and the Soma mine disaster in 2014, during which 301 mine workers died were both “destiny.” In both incidents, the government was heavily criticised for negligence.