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Big blame on AKP government - Death toll may rise to 280,000

Updated: Mar 17

Following the earthquake disaster in Turkey, criticism of the AKP government is growing.

The Turkish Chamber of Architects sees greed and omissions on the part of those responsible.

More and more details about the background to the earthquake in Turkey are coming to light. There are said to have been many failures on the part of the AKP government. A delegation of the Turkish Chamber of Architects (Mimarlar Odası), which visited the disaster region, came to this conclusion.

The experts toured the provinces of Adana, Osmaniye, Antakya, Gaziantep, Adıyaman, Malatya and Kahramanmaraş.

The experts contradict the AKP government's claim that the collapsed buildings were structures built before 1999. That is, before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party came to power.

"The president's statements that 98 percent of the collapsed buildings were built before 1991 are not true. The residential areas were chosen wrongly. Areas were chosen whose ground is liquid, marsh areas were chosen," Tezcan Karakuş Candan of the Ankara Chamber of Architects said at a press conference Friday.

The expert also criticized the government's plans to rebuild cities within a year. "You cannot put buildings back up here within a year," Candan said. Such plans must all be cancelled, she said. "The new plans must be worked out on a scientific basis."

The Ankara Chamber of Architects had earlier warned in a statement that cleanup should not begin immediately.

"In order for the necessary investigations to be launched, samples must be taken from each building and evidence must be secured." The cleanup should not lead to the destruction of evidence.

Disaster was already written down in 2018

In an article for the online platform Kisadalga, Candan criticized greed as one of the main causes of the high number of victims. Disregard for laws and ethical injustices have led to the collapse of society's soil.

"All the places we visited, people criticized the interest relationships of deputies, ministers, politicians, local council members, entrepreneurs and professionals. Society knows everything, is angry, no longer trusts those by whom it is governed and seeks help," Candan said.

Meanwhile, criticism of the so-called "building peace" is growing louder. With this, buildings that violate the building law have been approved after the fact, they say. Already in its 2018 election program, the ruling AKP party had announced that illegal buildings would be approved, he said. "The disaster was already written down in 2018," says MP Ali Mahir Basarir (CHP).

First contractors arrested - No arrests in government agencies

The pro-Kurdish HDP also blames the Erdogan government for the dilapidated buildings in the earthquake region. "Many contractors are to blame. Actually, those who do not control them, take bribes, turn a blind eye and those who brought construction peace are guilty," MP and human rights activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioglu (HDP) shares in a video on Twitter.

The first contractors have already been arrested. However, there have been no arrests of employees of the construction supervision authorities. Nor has any minister or official of the AKP government resigned yet.

The extent of the disaster is not yet entirely clear. While the controversial state disaster control authority AFAD puts the number of people killed in the earthquake at over 41,000, the opposition assumes many times that figure.

Opposition MP Servet Ünsal (CHP), speaking to IPPEN.MEDIA's Frankfurter Rundschau, said there could have been as many as 280,000 deaths as a result of the earthquake.

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