Turkish industry chamber head advises against hiring quake victims, claims it can 'disrupt demographic structure'

In a new hate speech, Kocaeli Chamber of Industry head Ayhan Zeytinoğlu has told firms not to hire earthquake victims, claiming it can “disrupt the demographic structure.” Zeytinoğlu defended it is “very important” to keep the working population among the quake victims “to stay in the (southeastern) region.”

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Kocaeli Chamber of Industry Chair Ayhan Zeytinoğlu has told firms not to hire earthquake victims from the southeastern region of Turkey.

“Do not hire those who come from the earthquake zone. I don’t say ‘don't help,’ but don't hire. Let's not disrupt the demographic structure,” Zeytinoğlu said in the chamber's monthly assembly meeting.

“The earthquake zone is an important region that contributes to the Turkish economy. The decision of our union of chambers is for the employees of the region to stay in that region in order for that region to survive. It is a region with a difficult ethnic structure. In order not to change the demographic structure by making the settled people migrate here, we should help with containers and temporary housing there,” Zeytinoğlu said, according to reporting by ANKA News Agency.

After his remarks stirred a huge reaction, Zeytinoğlu claimed that he had argued keeping the working population in the region is important both for the economic recovery of the southeastern region, the resumption of social life and national security.

Turkey’s southeastern region, which experienced two major earthquakes on Feb. 6 at magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6, is known for having a multiethnic demography with Turkish, Kurdish and Arab nationalities.

Kocaeli is located in the northwest of Turkey.