Earthquake in Turkey: inadequate protective measures?
The eastern Turkish province of Elazığ was hit by a heavy earthquake on Friday night. At least 41 people were killed. Commentators discuss the authorities' reaction to the disaster and accusations that the government failed to use the revenues from a special earthquake tax to put the appropriate protective measures in place.
Government ignoring its duty of accountability
It's entirely justified to bring up the question of what happened with the revenues from the earthquake tax, Cumhuriyet comments indignantly, addressing those in power:
“This is a people's tribunal. But you have already been asked questions about this in parliament, and they were all left unanswered. Is it so difficult to give an answer? No. You owe the people an answer to this question. ... We know, giving account is beneath your dignity. The prevailing view in your government is: you elected us and now we spend the money as we please. Lamentably, this is your idea of democracy. Transparency? No chance.”
Humaneness called for in crisis situations
The pro-government daily Sabah deems it immoral to raise the issue of earthquake taxes in the midst of the disaster:
“Ethics shows itself in crisis situations. ... Seen from the outside, these rebels, who immediately after the earthquake are calling out loudly for the taxes to be paid, are just as much people as those who donate for the Red Crescent and pray [for the victims]. ... But only at first glance. . . The earthquake in Elazığ was a severe test that has shown who will cross this threshold and who will stay behind.”
Irresponsible playing down of the situation
Habertürk is angered by the fact that the mayor of Elazığ declared immediately after the quake that there were no dead:
“What responsible statesman would tell such a lie, which will obviously turn out to be a lie within an hour and for which there is no reason? And yet he did. Because in Turkey it has practically become a duty to deceive superiors and the population. And before midnight we learned that there were more than 15 dead. So, what now, Mr. Mayor? Don't you count these lost lives as human casualties?”
New solidarity between Athens and Ankara?
Athens has said it will send search-and-rescue teams to the earthquake region. This would be a good opportunity to improve Greek-Turkish relations, writes Kathimerini:
“A climate of friendship and solidarity could still emerge from the ruins, to the benefit of both people, but also of their leaderships, if they are really looking for ways to normalize relations. Obviously, it is Erdoğan who must decide if he wants to grasp this opportunity. To seek peaceful coexistence on the basis of good neighbourliness and the rules of international law and set aside the threats and provocations. Should he decide in favour, public relations will easily follow and smooth the path.”