Turkey Earthquake: On the 6th of February 2023, around 4 AM in the morning, the lives of millions in Turkey and Syria changed suddenly. A 7.5 and 7.8 tremored earthquake struck the Gaziantep region of Turkey.
The horrific images and videos shocked the world as more than 16,000 Turkish nationals died and the number is still rising. The recent earthquake in Turkey has been labelled as one of the deadliest in decades. But sadly, not even the dead are spared from Erdogan’s cheap and filthy politics.
At a time when people and their leaders were expected to unite irrespective of their race or religion, the Turkish President is playing race politics.
The wannabe Khalifa is still busy doing what he does best, seeking votes and crushing criticisms.
In a race against time to detect survivors of the earthquake that occurred early on the 6th of February, rescuers in Turkey are battling heavy rain and snow but most importantly the cheap politics of their president.
The World Health Organization has issued a warning that the death toll may sharply increase as rescuers discover more victims.
The United Nations has stated that thousands of children may be among those killed as a result of the earthquake and its aftershocks. In scenes that were repeated throughout southern Turkey, heavy equipment worked through the night in the city of Adana, with lights illuminating the collapsed buildings and enormous slabs of concrete.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 of the provinces most severely affected by the earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6 and left thousands dead. But, along with it, criticism of Erdogan’s actions has also started to emerge.
Erdogan warns Turkish nationals
Lies don’t last forever and so, Erdogan has thus issued a severe warning to all Turkish citizens. Don’t confront the ‘king’.
Reportedly, Erdogan has warned Turkish nationals to stop spreading fake news or else they will get punished.
#Erdogan (#Turkey's Dictator) warns people who spread 'lies' about the #earthquakes and incite 'social chaos', and says prosecutors are closely watching. he looks very angry. Even in these difficult times, he is not with the people and does not want anyone to complain about him ! pic.twitter.com/ZmFuD3WvbP
— Ukraine News 🇺🇦 (@Ukrainene) February 7, 2023
It would have been very nice if the president showed his entire country love, hope, compassion, empathy, and solidarity at this difficult time but Erdogan instead is threatening his people with punishment for disseminating “false information,” which is just the code for criticizing his government.
Turkish social media have been filled with posts by people complaining about the lack of search and rescue efforts in their provinces.
Amidst the administrative absence, the hapless Turkish people are finding new friends on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok to seek aid. As the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan purposely denied giving help to people residing in Gaziantep where most Kurds reside, voices were seen rising on social media from the region.
Some brave hearts even took the platform to show the real face of Mr. Erdogan. Several social media accounts are claiming that only culturally Turkish areas are getting help but the Kurdish areas such as Pazarcik and Elbistan are left alone to deal with the earthquake.
💔 The occupied #Kurds in Turkey are being denied aid after the #earthquake by #Erdogan's dictatorship! Do not donate to usual NGO's, as the Turkish regime will steal the aid. Give to Heyva Sor (a #Kurdish organization) instead. 💚☀️ pic.twitter.com/kgC1OaXaC2
— Kevok Foundation #NoFlyZone4Rojava (@FoundationKevok) February 8, 2023
The Turkish areas are getting help but the Kurdish areas such as Pazarcik and Elbistan are left alone to deal with the earthquake. #racism #Turkey #Kurds pic.twitter.com/9eilUGfPww
— @Hevallo (@Hevallo) February 6, 2023
Other accounts also asserted that the Turkish government deliberately prohibited the construction of sturdy, earthquake-resistant buildings in Kurdish-populated areas. Whether or not this is true is still up for debate but the allegations are, however, very serious.
As these tweets began to gain acceptance and credibility on a global scale, social media was completely outlawed by Erdogan and his administration.
Officials released no immediate statements about the Twitter outage, but they had issued repeated warnings about spreading misinformation in advance of a crucial May 14 election in which Erdogan will try to extend his rule.
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Social Media and Starlink Saga
As per the internet-monitoring group NetBlocks, Twitter service in Turkey was limited on the 8th of February,2023. NetBlocks stressed that there was a “gradual implementation of the restriction, coming in place provider by provider,”. Those limits are “consistent with known forms of censorship in the country.”
Every time Erdogan feels someone is criticizing him on social media, he casually engages in this censorship behaviour. His supporters report the anti-Erdogan content in large numbers, and the dissenter then is promptly banned. Facebook and TikTok, the two other social media platforms, have also experienced similar outages.
At first, it was assumed that the outage was caused by the increase in traffic, but now, we know that only Erdogan was behind all this.
He himself appears to be not ready to help the Turkish nationals. Erdogan visited one of the hardest-hit areas, the earthquake epicentre Kahramanmaras, as online criticism of the slow response of the government grew. There, the leader accepted that yes, there were shortcomings in the relief operations.
Moreover, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also banned Starlink to assist Turkish forces. Musk’s Starlink could prove to be a guardian spirit for hapless Turkish nationals who are still in Debris because the satellite is able to track, detect and alarm those who are still under the debris. But, Erdogan turned down the proposal of Starlink after the earthquake by saying that Turkey had enough satellite capacity.
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The $30b scam
Also, there is a round of discussion of which there are very few mentions. Turkish nationals are also angry because more than $ 30 billion, collected in the name of the earthquake relief has been wolfed down by the Turkish Government.
An “earthquake tax” collected for disaster relief over these years is causing the Turkish government to come under increasing public and opposition party pressure.
Now, what is this “earthquake tax”?
Following a massive earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 17,000 people close to the city of Izmit in 1999, a service charge was introduced for the use of the internet and mobile phone services.
The Special Communications Tax has brought in an estimated 88 billion Turkish Lira (or roughly £3.8 billion). Turkish economists, however, contend that after accounting for exchange rate changes since the tax was implemented, the fund should actually be worth more than £30 billion.
But, ladies and gentlemen, guess what, Erdogan administration has no idea of exactly where that money is!
Foreign aid has been heavily utilized by Ankara, and it is believed that numerous nations are helping with relief efforts. But, the ‘Earthquake tax’ fund is not being even mentioned anywhere, thus raising concerns about where the money actually is. For the last 20 years, the government has been collecting earthquake taxes to safeguard people for years, but when the actual time arrived, it faltered.
As per a report published in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, there are allegations that the money was used to pay back loans from the International Monetary Fund.
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Erdogan has an election to win
The timing of this earthquake is also really crucial. In less than three months, Turkey is going to hold elections. Recept Tayyip Erdogan is looking to extend his decade-long rule. Since 2018, Erdogan now has had more sweeping executive authority. However, while those allow him to put off the vote for a year during times of war, a natural disaster does not automatically grant him that privilege. The ruling party must agree on a constitutional amendment with opposition parties in order to postpone the vote from a June deadline.
But the postponing of the elections looks like a distant reality as Erdogan is desperate enough to get re-elected at the earliest.
The reason behind this is pretty apt, the six-party coalition against Erdogan’s AKP is pretty strong. Erdogan fears losing the coming election. And thus, the moronic wannabe Khalifa is attempting every trick in his book to keep things under his watch.
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The heart-wrenching tragedy of the devastating earthquake has not even managed to bring a shred of humanity out of the stubborn and callous Erdogan. The disaster has caused immense suffering to all human beings, without distinction of race or community. The loss of innocent lives is a tragedy that should be mourned by all, but instead, Erdogan is exploiting this catastrophe for his own political and personal gains.
It is a disgrace to our species that leaders like him still exist and engage in such insensitive and manipulative politics. We can only hope that the heavens above are watching and that justice will be served for the pain he has caused to mankind.
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