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Erdogan apologises for earthquake response delays

February 28, 2023 at 10:10 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to media after visiting the tent city in quake hit Adiyaman, Turkiye on February 10, 2023 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologised on Monday for the delayed official response to the major earthquakes that hit south-east Turkiye earlier this month and killed over 40,000 people.

“Due to the devastating effects of the quakes and bad weather, as well as difficulties caused by damaged infrastructure, we were not able to work the way we wanted in the first few days,” said Erdogan. He made his apology during a visit to the Adiyaman province, near the earthquakes’ epicentre. “Like any human, we can have defects and can make mistakes. For this, I apologise.”

The president told the people of Turkiye that the physical impact of the devastating earthquakes would be dealt with within a year. Everyone who has been displaced, he promised, will be rehoused.

“Do not listen to the fools who attacked the government services responsible for dealing with all crises,” added Erdogan, a reference to members of opposition parties who have been using the tragedy of the earthquakes to try to gain political capital against him and his party.

Despite heavy criticism from the opposition, many believe that Erdogan’s popularity has actually risen. The upcoming presidential election slated for May will be a test of this.

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