Turkish governor’s office takes over HDP quake aid center’s operations

Maraş's Pazarcık District Governor has taken over the pro-Kurdish HDP's Crisis Coordination Center where local associations were collecting aid for earthquake victims. HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said the party will continue to help the people despite preventions.

Duvar English

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has announced that Pazarcık district governor in Kahramanmaraş province has taken over their crisis coordination center on Feb. 15.

Accordingly, Pazarcık District Governor Mustafa Hamit Kıyıcı, together with the gendarmerie, took over the village house used by HDP members to collect and distribute aid.

District Governor Kıyıcı said, "Hierarchy is a must in the state. I am not saying anything about right or wrong (about what you do), but we have the authority to confiscate (the crisis coordination center)."

In a statement, the HDP said, "Pazarcık has been standing with solidarity for 10 days. Who is bothered by people rushing to help in freezing cold and difficult conditions? Of course, the government! They want to confiscate aids by appointing a trustee to the Crisis Coordination Center established in Pazarcık Hasankoca Village!"

The members of the crisis coordination center also said that the government, which is "absent for 10 days" since the quakes hit the region, came to "hijack solidarity built by the party."

HDP Co-Chair Pervin Buldan said that “It is not the government’s place to prevent aid, we will continue to mobilize for our people.”

Speaking in Diyarbakır province, Buldan noted the trustee and the district governor of Pazarcık, together with the local authorities, took over the building and warehouse where the aid was collected and threatened the volunteers with detention. 

She warned the public about prevention efforts against the aid distribution of the party in the earthquake zone and called for solidarity. Buldan added that they will not allow the government, who wants to provide aid as if they collected the materials, to hijack their efforts.

"In the first two days of the earthquake, the law enforcement, the government and the soldiers were absent. Now they block the aid efforts," she added.

The HDP co-chair also stated that the party’s aid trucks have been confiscated by the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) when they try to enter provinces affected by the quakes. 

HDP Deputy Oya Ersoy also shared footage of the incident on her Twitter account and said "A trustee was appointed to the Pazarcık Crisis Coordination Center in Hasankoca Cemevi! Those who did not come to Pazarcık for days are preventing those who are with their people for solidarity and confiscating the aid collected! Trustees cannot be appointed for solidarity!"

As of Feb. 16, some 35,918 people have yet lost their lives, and approximately 105,505 others have been injured in two major earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey early on Feb. 6. 

From the first day onwards, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and National Movement Party (MHP) coalition has been trying to monopolize aid distribution in the hands of the state-run AFAD.