Turkish rescue efforts were not as fast as hoped: Erdogan
The Turkish leader pledged to rebuild the damaged region within a year, and that the Turkish government will pay rent for those affected by the earthquake and had their homes destroyed who do not wish to live in tent cities.
Turkey's leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Friday that search and rescue efforts carried out by his own government in the aftermath of the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which claimed the lives of over 19,000 in Turkey alone, were not as fast as he had hoped.
Some news outlets have reported that survivors of the quake have criticized Erdogan's goverment over the insufficient number of rescuers and aid being provided in the first days that followed the catastrophe.
But Erdogan himself admitted that Turkish emergency services failed to have intervened swiftly and could have done better to address the disaster.
"So many buildings were damaged that unfortunately, we were not able to speed up our interventions as quickly as we had desired," Erdogan said during a visit to the city of Adiyaman, noting that the winter storm had made it more difficult for emergency services to access certain roads.
"Moreover, most public workers who would have conducted the first intervention and organization were themselves under the collapsed buildings," he said while pointing out that Turkey had gathered "perhaps the world's largest search and rescue team" made up of 141,000 across 10 affected provinces.
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On another note, as he aims to safeguard his electoral prospects ahead of the May 14 elections, the Turkish leader slammed critics against his government over slow rescue efforts.
A prominent opposition politician named Kemal Kilicdaroglu accused "profiteers" affiliated to Erdogan's government that did not follow adequate construction codes.
Erdogan slammed his critics as "opportunists who want to turn this pain into their political gain".
He further pledged to rebuild the damaged region within a year, and that the Turkish government will pay rent for those affected by the earthquake and who had their homes destroyed who do not wish to live in tent cities.
"We will ensure that our citizens who do not want to stay in tents can move to residences by paying the rent for one year," he told reporters.
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