AKP-linked sports complex withholds hundreds of relief packages meant for quake-hit area

Hundreds of donation-filled parcels intended for the area affected by the Feb. 6 earthquakes have been left unused in a sports facility’s parking lot used by the ruling AKP’s Üsküdar municipality in Istanbul.

Duvar English

Hundreds of boxes filled with donations destined for Turkey’s quake-stricken area have been uncovered in an enclosed parking lot of a sports facility in Üsküdar Municipality, Istanbul, the daily Birgün reported on Feb. 12.

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes on Feb. 6, 2023, which ravaged large swathes of Turkey’s southeast and northern Syria, the Üsküdar municipality, under the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), designated the Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu Sports Complex in the Bulgurlu district as a collection center for donations.

However, despite a year passing since the tremors, hundreds of relief packages, including clothes, toys, shoes, beds, and heaters, have remained stored in the enclosed parking lot of the sports facility, footage from Birgün shows.

Üsküdar Mayor Hilmi Türkmen informed the newspaper to investigate the matter and stated that substantial aid had been dispatched to the quake-affected region.

It is not the first time AKP-governed municipalities have faced accusations of mishandling relief efforts.

In Nov, 2023, allegations emerged that the AKP-controlled Boğazlıyan municipality in Yozgat province, central Turkey, had distributed aid to stores ahead of the elections.

Food aid collected for citizens affected by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in İzmir on Oct. 30, 2020, was withheld for months by the AKP’s Bergama municipality before being repurposed into food packages distributed during Ramadan.

(English version by Wouter Massink)