An engineer working at Turkey’s Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) has been suspended from duty for saying he does not grant forgiveness (“helallik” in Turkish) in the face of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks asking for people’s forgiveness over the state’s incompetence in dealing with the earthquake disaster.
The engineer has lost 11 of his relatives in the earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey on Feb. 6, said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) vice chair Veli Ağbaba on social media.
“Mesut Polat is an engineer at the Council of Forensic Medicine. He has lost 11 of his relatives in the Adıyaman earthquake. The President made the statement of ‘Give your forgiveness' in Adıyaman on Feb. 27. And Mesut Polat, who lost 11 of his relatives, wrote in his WhatsApp status message, ‘He is asking for forgiveness in Adıyaman. I am not giving it.’ Upon this, the Justice Ministry has launched an investigation against Mesut Polat,” Ağbaba said in a video on March 21.
Depremde 11 yakınını kaybetmiş memur “Helallik vermiyorum” diye paylaşım yaptığı için soruşturma açıp, görevden uzaklaştırdılar!— Veli Ağbaba (@veliagbaba) March 21, 2023
Keşke bu hızınızı enkazdaki insanları kurtarmak için de gösterseydiniz!
Bu kadar vicdansızlık yeryüzünde görülmedi! pic.twitter.com/AVtgdvrf1n
On Feb. 27, Erdoğan asked for the “forgiveness” (“helallik”) of earthquake-hit citizens, admitting that the government had failed to respond adequately in the “first couple of days” after the two major earthquakes of Feb. 6.
“Helallik” is an Islamic term loosely meaning “to forgive and forget.”
Several citizens and opposition parties slammed Erdoğan over his remarks, saying that he cannot avoid accountability and needs to face the consequences of the negligence.