The devastating earthquakes in Turkey have caused massive destruction in Turkey, with President Erdogan declaring a state of emergency in the affected areas, which expires 1 week before May 14, when his country's elections are to be held.
"President Erdogan: We have decided to declare a state of emergency in 10 provinces for 3 months", is the title of a Turkish media article whose highlights are as follows:
"In a statement to the State Intelligence Coordination Center, President Erdogan said: "Currently, 53,317 search and rescue officers and support personnel are working in the wreckage area. The number is being increased every passing hour with teams from Turkey and abroad." and continued, "We have decided to declare a state of emergency for 3 months in 10 provinces."
Pointing out that 2 major earthquakes with epicenters in Pazardzic and Elbistan caused great damage in 10 provinces in a wide area where about 13.5 million citizens live, Erdogan said, that they occurred at 04.17 with a magnitude of 7.7 and at 13.24. with an intensity of 7.6 Richter.
He stated that experts describe these two earthquakes as "extraordinary ground motions that are independent of each other but cause each other. Both earthquakes occurred at a depth of 7 kilometers into the earth which exponentially increased the severity of the disaster."
He went on to say that "In terms of the width of the ruptured faults, these earthquakes have caused great damage over a very wide area compared to other earthquakes.
Therefore, we are facing one of the biggest disasters not only in our own history of the Turkish Republic, but also in our geographical region and the world. Our state with all its institutions, organizations, personnel, tools, equipment and facilities, is in the disaster areas in a spirit of mobilization from the first moment of the earthquake to work."
Considering the devastating effects of the earthquake that spread to 10 cities, Erdogan stressed that they ordered specialized personnel and vehicles from all over the country to move to the area immediately, and that despite the difficulties caused by the weather, the teams selflessly fought to reach the area. of the disaster and participate in the work.
Expressing that the dangers of the many aftershocks in the damaged buildings also negatively affected the project, Erdogan continued:
"Regardless of the difficulty of the conditions, we quickly continue search and rescue efforts with the support of our citizens and volunteers, using all the means of our state.
Thousands are helping the search and rescue work
53,317 search and rescue and support personnel are currently working in the wreckage area, and this number is increasing by the hour with additional teams arriving from Turkey and abroad.
A large number of public officials, non-governmental organization officials and volunteers are also involved in the relief efforts.
Stating that they have implemented step-by-step measures to meet all the needs of disaster survivors, from shelter to clothing, food and heating, Erdogan said: "So far they have 54 thousand tents, 102 thousand beds and other basic necessities, are sent to the area to be delivered to the victims of the disaster. We have appointed additional governors and governors to support our administrators," he said.
Stating that all directors of public institutions in all provinces of Turkey are making great efforts to work on the earthquake zone in their own cities and that a minister in each city is overseeing the activities being carried out, Erdogan said that Vice President Fuat Oktay is coordinating the assignments .
Erdogan said, "We are in constant contact with our friends on the ground and are monitoring the developments through the Presidential Crisis Center moment by moment and making the necessary interventions. We have immediately allocated 100 billion pounds of resources to our institutions for emergency aid and support activities." , he said.
Keeping lines of transportation and communication open is vital
Noting that maintaining open lines of transportation and communication is vital, Erdogan said: "Due to the harsh winter conditions, there are still difficulties in transporting search and rescue teams and relief equipment and materials to the earthquake zone. For this, no one should use the roads leading to and within the seismic zone unless necessary, I remind you again that it should not be done except for urgent needs”.
Noting that some of the region's airports are available only for aid flights, Erdogan said: "They provide medical care, nearly 1,000 ambulances, 241 UMKE teams and a total of 5 thousand medical personnel, and two airlift planes have been transferred to the region."
Noting that many members of the security forces, such as members of the Ministry of Interior and members of the Turkish Armed Forces, were deployed in search and rescue operations, Erdogan continued his words as follows:
"Our Turkish Armed Forces are participating in the search and rescue, evacuation and transportation of relief materials with all their forces, including 10 ships of our Navy and 54 high-capacity cargo aircraft of our Air Force, as well as thousands of personnel transported by 26 transports planes, with the Coast Guard on duty throughout the disaster area with its ships and boats.
We also deployed our unmanned aerial vehicles for faster and more detailed detection of the effects of the earthquake that spread over a large area. Thousands of volunteers with search and rescue training and equipment from across our country are flocking to the area under unified coordination. In addition to the units under our ministries, all our municipalities, regardless of party, send their tools and support materials to the region.
"We have 3,549 dead, 22,168 injured"
President Erdogan also stated that thousands of construction machines that will participate in infrastructure restoration are moving to the area from all over the country.
Expressing that they have closely witnessed the sincere efforts of non-governmental organizations since the first moment of the earthquake, Erdogan said: “Unfortunately, the number of dead and injured is being increased as time increases in search and rescue efforts. We have 3,549 dead and 22,168 wounded. Our greatest consolation is that more than 8000 of our citizens have been rescued alive from the rubble so far. My condolences and I wish the injured a speedy recovery." he said.
President Erdoğan also stated that they declared a week of national mourning, from yesterday to next Sunday, respecting the suffering of the nation from this great disaster.
Our assessment is that now Erdogan, with his decision, leaves open the possibility of postponing the elections, since he will consider how he will move in the polls throughout this 3-month period, in which he will attempt to restore a large part of the damage caused from earthquakes.
The consensus that must prevail in the current phase to deal with the National tragedy will be the one that Erdogan will constantly invoke, in order to deprive the opposition of the possibility to oppose him in the pre-election, expecting to win votes.
If that doesn't work for him, then he is very likely to renew the state of emergency, postponing the election until later.
We wait to see.