It has been almost a week since the deadly earthquake that struck 10 provinces in Turkey. We, as the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), have sent a short report about the situation in general as well as the political aspects of it. However, the situation is highly unstable and changing by the minute, as the death toll has reached almost 30.000.
As we approach the end of the first week of the deadly earthquakes, almost 30.000 people have lost their lives, while most of the search and rescue missions are about to be ended. The number of people evacuated from the earthquake zone has reached 147.000. The numbers are increasing every minute, and the estimates are terrifying. The first response of the AKP government was to declare a state of emergency in 10 provinces hit by the earthquake, and Erdoğan visited the area only on the third day. However, the media blackout is rather massive, as almost all of the national TV outlets streaming from the area are interrupted by the earthquake victims questioning why the government authorities are nowhere to be seen. The anger against the government still continues. Moreover, racist sentiments against refugees living in the area are dangerously fuelled by neo-fascist parties on the grounds of fake social media posts. The state is practically invisible in terms of safety and security, while some mobs here and there attack individuals alleged to be looters.
Our efforts in the disaster zones
In the early days of the earthquake, we established a Disaster Coordination Centre at our HQs in Istanbul. We have been mobilized for disaster relief and solidarity with our thousands of members and volunteers, aid trucks, and vehicles. As disaster relief is urgently needed in the area, our efforts continue and expand every minute.
Our members have established two main coordination centres in the cities Hatay and Maraş-Elbistan to provide humanitarian assistance. In addition to that, we have started to build a temporary container city in Hatay, one of the worst-hit cities, to provide shelter to those affected, and currently 26 containers have been sent to the area.
As of today, we are assisting our people with 660 volunteers, 31 trailer trucks, 36 trucks, 12 pickups, 4 vans, 35 cars, 1 mobile catering truck, 2 shower cabins, 12 portable WCs, 4 water tanks and 8 portable food stands, thanks completely to the contributions of our people.
Our Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Spokesperson, MPs, and members of the central executive committee are at the epicenter of the earthquake, working in coordination with our members, volunteers and local branches.
Our Chairperson and Istanbul MP Erkan Baş has reported from the earthquake area and underlined that the nature of capitalism as profit, not human life, has always been the priority for the AKP government. He has also stated that although the earthquake is a natural disaster, the necessary precautions and preparations based on scientific approaches could have been completed before. (Click here to watch the full speech with English subtitles)
Our Spokesperson and Istanbul MP Sera Kadıgil has also visited the earthquake area. She has underlined how the government’s delayed response has led to the death of several thousand people and how the corruption of the state at every level has led to a rentier regime, which now blames nature for this disaster. (Click here to watch the full speech in English subtitles)
Political crisis unfolding
The current crisis is a very painful turning point for Turkey, where a polycrisis is visibly ahead of us. We are faced with such great destruction that it is not possible to eliminate the effects of the disaster by temporarily delivering social aid to the people affected by the earthquake. Most of the disaster-affected areas are not habitable anymore, and this will create a wave of domestic relocation of great masses of population. The most basic living needs of these millions of people, from shelter to employment, from food to education, must be met. In addition, a huge public resource should be devoted to the reconstruction of destroyed cities. We are well aware that the AKP government or capitalist mode of production is not capable of doing that by their nature. Therefore, the working-class movement should become a political agency to keep our country livable and prosperous.
As we have already noted in our previous bulletin, the state bureaucracy has been in chaos since the first days of this crisis. Most of the state institutions are too dysfunctional to deliver the needs of citizens. The unqualified bureaucrats are in charge of most of the institutions. The only qualification needed for them to be in those positions is their unquestionable loyalty to Erdoğan’s regime.
Lastly, fascist figures are fuelling the anger of our people towards refugees in the area by spreading fake news through social media. Although there is no verifiable proof, most of these social media posts are claiming that refugees or immigrants are organizing lootings in the earthquake area. Due to the lack of security measures in the area, unfortunately, there have been incidents of lynching of civilians. This racist rhetoric used by fascist figures benefits those who are really responsible for this disaster.
We will continue to deliver updates about the situation to international organizations and the press. Please see our previous report about the earthquake here: Solidarity will save lives!
Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP)
International Relations Committee