President Erdoğan targets veteran seismologist for warning about quake risks

Without explicitly giving Prof. Naci Görür's name, President Erdoğan has targeted the veteran seismologist and belittled him with the remarks of "professor-waste." Görür has been warning the government against rapid mega construction projects and calling for the formation of a robust earthquake policy for years.

This collage shows President Erdoğan (L) and Prof. Naci Görür (R).

Duvar English

President Recep Erdoğan on April 11 targeted earthquake expert Prof. Naci Görür in his speech at an election campaign meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Without explicitly mentioning Görür's name, Erdoğan belittled the veteran sysmologist’s warnings about mega construction projects of the government and said “What would your professorship bring to this nation?” 

Görür drew attention of public with his warnings after the Feb. 6 earthquakes that caused major destruction in southeastern Turkey. He often criticizes rapid construction operations of the government in the earthquake zone.

Erdoğan's targeting of Görür came after the professor pointed out that limit of Istanbul’s building stock has exceeded and criticized the government’s policies that are still pushing the limits with the never-ending construction projects. 

On April 10, at the 75th Geology Congress of Turkey, Görür said: “As a nation, we want neither airports, bridges nor roads; what we want is safety.” 

Görür also said that the earthquake issue is the most important problem of the country. "We are now trying to explain this to the politicians, opposition, and local administrations. I cannot say that we have come a long way so far,” he said.  

In response, Erdoğan on April 11 implied that Görür was despising construction investments such as dams, bridges, roads, but did not give the professor's name. 

"What did a professor say the other day? Prof. ha! 'Things can't be solved by building bridges, dams, airports'...This man is a professor. Think about it, you don't have a dam, airport, and (domestic automobile brand) TOGG...This man is a professor-waste. This person is a waste. What would your professorship bring to this nation? First, tell me what is needed for the development of a country," Erdoğan said. 

Following these remarks, Görür issued a statement on his Twitter account, saying that he did not think Erdoğan had referred to him.

"I don't think that Mr. President has referred to me; I have never said such a thing. As a scientist who has predicted the Elazığ, Maraş and Gaziantep quakes in advance and warned the people, I said things similar to: 'Let's build few roads, bridges, and bridges, but first let's form quake-resistant cities that ensure our people's life safety.' I am saying the same thing again," he tweeted.