Turkish opposition says construction sector's 'greed for unearned income' behind disaster

Turkey's opposition Nation Alliance (“Millet İttifakı”) on Feb. 18 held a meeting with the agenda being last week's major earthquakes. The alliance said in a statement, "The extravagant greed of unearned income (rant) that opened the door to corruption in the construction sector has caused our nation to pay a fatal bill."

Duvar English

Turkey's opposition Nation Alliance came together on Feb. 18 at the Felicity Party (SP) Headquarters to discuss the Kahramanmaraş-based earthquakes.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party, Felicity Party (SP), the Democratic Party (DP), DEVA Party, and Future Party leaders participated in the meeting. 

In the press release issued after the meeting, the parties thanked the state institutions, public officials, NGOs, and international organizations despite the “government’s incapacity and divisive attitude” during the post-earthquake process. 

The opposition alliance stated that the necessary preparations were not made before the disaster and adequate measures were not taken.

“Weakening the institutional capacity of Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), giving responsibility in senior positions to people who lack merit, granting zoning amnesty to not earthquake-resistant buildings without any supervision, and the extravagant greed of unearned income (rant) that opened the door to corruption in the construction sector have caused our nation to pay a fatal bill," the statement read. 

The press release also said that suffering and casualties have increased exponentially due to the presidential system “where no bureaucrat can take initiative and instructions are expected from one person on every issue.”

The parties also said that search and rescue operations were late and inadequate and the supply of basic needs could not be coordinated properly from the beginning. 

“Unfortunately, a divisive attitude was made between municipalities and NGOs (that wanted help) and it was too late to include them in the process. The polarizing discourse was not abandoned and decisions taken from a single center slowed down the work. Irrational practices such as sending law enforcement officers, miners and construction equipment to the field late, slowing down the bandwidth on social media platforms, and not closing the stock exchange had irreparable consequences and deepened the crisis."

The alliance also advocated that the sale of houses and land to foreigners in disaster zones must be banned. They added that it is crucial to preserve the demographic and social structure.

The press release also touched upon a hot topic in the country which is online education decision at the universities.  According to the parties, the capacity of the tourism sector and empty houses in metropolitan cities should be utilized for the accommodation of earthquake victims.