People still wait for help and solidarity, and Erdoğan declares “State of Emergency”!

Statement from Evrensel Daily; paper of ‘The Labour Party” in Turkey; EMEP


This article from the Labour Party of Turkey early on pointed at Erdoğan’s responsibility both for the construction industry corruption and shoddy constructions, and the completely inadequate efforts after the quake to aid victims.

Criticizing President Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to declare a State of Emergency in 10 provinces devastated by earthquakes, the Labour Party of Turkey EMEP said, “The people’s need is not a “State of Emergency” but the organization of emergency aid and solidarity.”

In a statement calling for the withdrawal of the state of emergency decree, EMEP said:

“Unfortunately, the most critical hours of the earthquake for people struggling to survive under the rubble were wasted. In freezing cold conditions, lives were extinguished due to hypothermia and frost. The call of “Is anyone there?” – synonymous with the search and rescue teams during the prior Gölcük earthquake trying to reach the survivors, has this time round turned into a gigantic scream from under the mountains of rubble. Following those critical hours, the voices of our people under the rubble are almost no longer heard.”

We wish the government spokespersons’ statements of, “We have reached everywhere, we have control over the situation”, really reflected the truth. But the information coming from the region, the data reaching our party, the screams of despair of people in the news tell a different story. While the public is trying to dig up debris with their bare hands, construction equipment, search and rescue teams, planes and helicopters still have not reached most of the collapsed sites. The survivors, on the other hand, do not have access to food, temporary shelters, tents, heaters, clean water, healthcare or even basic necessities.

While the situation is such, the declaration of a three-months State of Emergency in the 10 provinces by AKP (Justice and Development Party) and President Erdoğan shows how alienated the government is from the people and how afraid they are of the public reaction. The State of Emergency was declared so that the public reaction to the government is not visible, and the facts of the earthquake are not displayed in front of the public any more. The State of Emergency declared in the 10 provinces struck by the earthquakes is also a state of emergency declared over the whole country. It seems that the one-man administration receives the earthquake as a ‘blessing’ and wants to go to the elections under a state of emergency.

The government, which failed to act and fulfill the minimum requirements in saving lives, had already failed to deliver the taxes that were collected for the earthquake; and now failed in mobilizing all the means of the state for the people. Again this shows an ‘extraordinary’ reflex in enacting policies of oppression and intimidation with this State of Emergency.

State of Emergency means the prohibition of strikes, restriction of freedom of speech, the press and expression. It also means a ban on TV and radio broadcasts, that denies the public the right to receive information. The State of Emergency means putting yet another obstacle in the way of public solidarity in disaster areas that the state cannot reach. This decision also means suppressing the poor people’s demands for work, bread and freedom.

The State of Emergency should be withdrawn. Earthquake survivors do not need a State of Emergency, but they do need the organization of emergency aid and solidarity. It is unacceptable to declare a State of Emergency against the public, instead of going after contractors and holding public officials accountable for their mismanagement. The latter put in place negligent and rentier policies, which cost the lives of thousands and injured hundreds of thousands of people.

We call on all forces of labor, democracy and citizens to increase solidarity with earthquake zones and to raise demands for democracy and freedom against anti-democratic practices.”

Originally in  Evrensel Daily 8February, 2023paper of  “The Labour Party” in Turkey; EMEP