Izmir after the earthquake: politicians at fault?

The death toll from last weekend's devastating earthquake in the East Aegean has risen to 116. The Turkish city of Izmir with four million inhabitants was hit particularly hard, with several apartment buildings collapsing. A debate is raging in the national press about whether politicians could have lessened the impact of the disaster with targeted protective measures.

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Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Corruption and incompetence have wrecked the land

Turkey's politicians bear the sole responsibility for the grave consequences of the quake, Cumhuriyet insists:

“Hand in hand, the government and the opposition have shattered this country. ... Turkey is experiencing a nightmare of bad leadership, of incompetent officiants, of indecent individuals who place their own interests above the people they rule. ... We are all fighting for survival in a country destroyed by corrupt politicians. ... Just as little Elif [the girl who was rescued after 65 hours] clung to the fireman's fingers, we too are looking for a trustworthy hand we can hold. ... We're looking for a leadership that will rescue our country from the ruins and spare us such pain.”

Yeni Şafak (TR) /

Natural disasters are beyond our control

The pro-government daily Yeni Şafak argues that the state would not have been able to prevent the consequences of the earthquake anyway:

“All this talk about learning how to live with earthquakes, about the prospect of buildings, cities, environments being constructed in a way that ensures they will never be damaged by earthquakes. Certainly there are formulas for how to do this. Certainly there is an ideal that should be aspired to, and Turkey has in fact done a lot in this regard since the 1999 quake [with more than 18,000 deaths]. But no matter how far we go with this, earthquakes are the fate of mankind as inhabitants of this earth.”