Turkish leading satirical magazine LeMan’s last issue has featured a caricature of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu holding a book in his hands with the title of “Istanbul Earthquake.”
The caricature concerns Soylu’s remarks from Feb. 17 as he was answering journalist Ahmet Hakan’s questions on broadcaster CNN Türk. During the TV program, Soylu said that the government was making preparing for an expected major earthquake in Istanbul instead of the Kahramanmaraş-based earthquakes.
“For the last three three-four years, since the 1999 (Marmara) earthquake, preparations have been going on. The state is trying to put forward how its power can be. Our preparation was for the (expected) Istanbul earthquake. But the Kahramanmaraş (fault) line was also one of the important areas for us,” Soylu said in tears.
👉Süleyman Soylu: 'Bizim hazırlığımız İstanbul depremiydi'.— LeMan (@lemandergisi) February 17, 2023
👉Barış Atay: ‘Yanlış depremde öldüğümüz için özür dileriz’. pic.twitter.com/fXBkfzu2Hk
Soylu’s remarks drew widespread ire, with people pointing out that academics have been for years warning against a major earthquake in the southeastern region as well.
Barış Atay, a lawmaker representing the quake-hit province of Hatay from the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), slammed Soylu over his remarks. Tagging Soylu in his tweet, Atay wrote: “We are sorry for dying in the wrong earthquake.”
The Kahramanmaraş-based earthquakes of Feb. 6 have wrought destruction across southeastern Turkey, displacing thousands and pushing them into makeshift cities filled with shipping container homes or rows of tents.
About 84,700 buildings have collapsed or are in need of immediate demolition due to severe damage in the region, Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said on Feb. 17.