Our country faces one of the worst disasters in its history. The destruction caused by two great earthquakes on 6 February 2023 has a direct impact on ten cities and almost fifteen million people, which will last for a long time. As the Science Committee of the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), we share our heartfelt condolences with those who have lost their loved ones. We wish a quick recovery to those rescued, injured, or left without shelter.
The news from the region has demonstrated the severity not only of the earthquake but also of the crisis of governance in Turkey under the AKP regime in the bitterest way imaginable. The most efficient tool that can protect citizens against earthquakes is an urban planning that follows scientific principles and pro-public policies. Unfortunately, in the last twenty years the leading principles that have shaped the urban zones in Turkey have not been public benefit and science but profitability and the benefit of construction companies. To this end, urban areas have intentionally and hastily been expanded. The earthquakes have also shown us that the state has drifted away from the level of functionality and rationality that could ensure its citizens` most urgent needs and even their right to live, to say the very least. As is evident form the attitudes of those representing public authority, too, the state in Turkey no longer constitutes a structure that can even minimally represent the people`s feelings, expectations, and desire to live together in harmony.
As the Science Committee, we are well aware that the common main problems our people face, including the aftermath of the earthquake, can only be mitigated when we unite and replace the mentality that leaves all the state apparatuses to the hands of capitalists and their associates with an understanding that privileges public interest.
There are also the problems that need urgent attention in the areas hit by the earthquakes. In this regard, TİP Science Committee demands the urgent that the following are carried out immediately:
- Announcing “state of emergency” in the ten impacted cities, even though the law no. 7269 allows declaring a region as “impacted by disaster that threatens lives,” does not have an additional value or function in making the delivery of emergency aid to the region any easier. The state of emergency is employed instead as a political tool to punish citizens questioning the measures taken in the aftermath of the earthquakes. What we need is not to suppress people`s demands and complaints via the declaration of the state of emergency but to record these demands and to shape the emergency response accordingly.
- The political power must immediately stop addressing institutions, organizations, and volunteers engaged in providing humanitarian aid to the region according to their positioning with regard to the ideological stance of the ruling party. An effective and humane aid strategy requires a well-planned, coordinated, and vigilant cooperation with all involved institutions, organizations and volunteers.
- All impacted citizens should be provided with a monthly salary not below the poverty line until permanent housing and employment opportunities can be provided.
- Tent cities and insulated container housing with necessary infrastructure should be set up with a special consideration paid to the long-term effects of the earthquakes and the weather conditions in the impacted cities.
- Population surveys must be conducted among the people living in tent cities to identify vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children, babies, as well as those in need of vaccination to provide protective health services without further delay.
- Field hospitals should be constructed widely and rapidly to prevent setbacks in emergency and other health services. The lack of a healthy workforce, medicine, and other medical products should be compensated immediately. All healthcare infrastructure including private hospitals and medicine companies should be mobilized to this end. All survivors should be provided with free health services including medicines, no taxes or contributions should be demanded for these.
- In order to prevent epidemics, mobile sanitation and other relevant equipment should be installed, people should regularly be provided with clean drinking water, and damaged waterworks and canalization infrastructure should immediately be repaired. To meet the nutrition needs of the survivors, regular access to food should be made available.
- It is imperative that the pets and farm animals are provided with health care and shelters, the bodies of the dead ones are buried in a fashion that poses no risk to the health of the public as well as other animals, and vaccine programme is run against zoonotic diseases to protect public health.
- BTK (Institution of Information Technologies) and other related organizations must cease restricting and blocking social media and other communication applications, immediately. The people`s right to communicate cannot be violated. Internet service providers should make internet service free and accessible in all the cities affected by the earthquakes. Large WI-FI spots should be set up in all field hospitals and unharmed public institutions.
- Each individual responsible for the lost lives, injuries, and damaged buildings must interrogated by attorney generals in an effective, swift, and just manner.
Turkey`s economy is strong enough to finance these swiftly, the country`s resources are sufficient for these expenses. These expenses should be covered by the central government budget. In case of a budget shortage, the payments for private-public cooperative projects should be postponed, companies in sectors notably profitable in the last fiscal period such as construction, real estate, and finance should directly be taxed for financing these expenses. These taxes should be collected in a “6 February Earthquake Reconstruction Fund.”
TİP SCIENCE COMMITTEE