As of today at least 111 people died and 1034 people have been injured in İzmir, the coastal city of Turkey, after a strong earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea on Friday 30 October.
According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) the magnitude of the earthquake was 6.6, on the other hand the United States Geological Survey put the magnitude of the tremor at 7.0.
9 buildings in İzmir completely collapsed and lots of others are heavily damaged and search and rescue operations are ongoing on the fifth day.
Turkey is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world but is ill-prepared against them.
More than two decades after the devastating earthquake in which according to official numbers more than 18,000 people died, this latest disaster revealed that Turkey is still ill prepared for such big tremors.
Following the massive earthquake disaster in 1999, extraordinary measures were declared and a “special communication tax” was one of them. Since then Turkey has collected around 66 billion Turkish liras through this tax “in order to relieve the damages” and prepare for future earthquakes. Today people are questioning what the collected taxes have been spent on.
Mehmet Şimşek, Turkey’s former Minister of Finance once told reporters that, the government had spent the special tax revenues largely on motorways rather repairing buildings damaged in the previous tremor.
In addition to this reckless misconduct the AKP government also issued several amnesties for unregulated construction works and hundreds of thousands of illegal buildings were registered. This means that there are no actual deterrent sanctions for the violations of construction laws and regulations.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has brought the earthquake discussion into the parliamentary agenda 58 times and the government has rejected all of the presented motions.
Earthquakes do not kill people but governments do, and Erdogan’s AKP and the far-right Bahceli’s Party are partners in this crime.