Turkish main opposition chair says rulership blackmailing people with housing right

Turkish main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 24 that the rulership is “threatening” earthquake victims to vote for them “under the image of housing promise.” Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to Erdoğan’s repeated address to citizens to “give him one year” for the government to reconstruct new buildings in the quake zone.

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government was trying to blackmail people through the right to housing.

“They (government) are threatening people under the image of housing promise. They are saying, ‘Look, if we go, if you don’t give us one more year, you would be left without any home.’ I say this openly; they are lying. They are threatening our people through the most basic human right of housing. This is what they are doing because they are blackmailers,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 23 in a video posted on his Twitter account.

Kılıçdaroğlu shared the video with the note of "What we need to be scared of after this hour is the fear itself."

Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks that construction works at the quake-affected provinces will start “as soon as possible” and the new residential buildings “will be completed within one year” after the collapse of thousands of them.

Since two major earthquakes hit the country’s southeastern provinces on Feb. 6, Erdoğan has repeatedly told people “to give me one year” for the government to reconstruct new buildings.

However, experts warn against such a swift construction process, saying that without a proper groundwork analysis and detailed planning, any new construction would lead to new disasters.

In criticism of Erdoğan’s housing promise, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “When there are so much pile of debris, when our people are lying under those rubble, when there is asbestos, when there is dust, they have gotten into the work of housing marketing because their only concern is the elections.”

He said that the government was yet unable to provide enough number of tents for the quake zone amid reports that the shortage of tents is currently the biggest problem. “These people (referring to government officials) who have set off on the claim that ‘This century is ours’ have not yet taken tents to their citizens on the quake’s 19th day,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“No one should yield to fear. Don’t forget: No one can threaten you through the right to housing. Of course, the housing problem will be solved, houses will be built. Of course, every one of our citizen left homeless in the quake will get a new home. Thousands of families have been left under those rubble. And Erdoğan will pour two stones (referring to construction) and it will be over. Is that it? He thinks he can fool our nation like this.”

Erdoğan's government has endured a wave of criticism over both its response to the devastation and what many Turks say were years of non-enforcement of construction quality control.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced the death toll in Turkey due to earthquakes rose to 44,218 on Feb. 24 evening.