HDP Crisis Coordination: The government is trapped under the rubble

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has set up a crisis coordination centre due to the earthquake in Turkey and North Kurdistan and informed at a press conference in Ankara about the work done so far and the deficits on the ground. Mahfuz Güleryüz, Emirali Türkmen, Habip Eksik and Sultan Özcan took part in the press conference at the party headquarters on Thursday.

Speaking about the work of the Crisis Coordination Centre, Güleryüz said: “We work continuously 24 hours a day. Our crisis coordination centres on the ground are working non-stop and can be reached by phone around the clock. We try to reach everyone who needs help in the earthquake areas and immediately inform the disaster management authority AFAD of the need.”

Due to insufficient rescue teams, tens of thousands of people are still under the rubble of the collapsed buildings. We are angry. We feel the anger of our people in our hearts,” Güleryüz said, adding: “The interventions are insufficient, people have been left to their fate.”


Güleryüz further stated the following: “What is happening in the earthquake region is in stark contrast to what the AKP/MHP government says. The reality is quite different, it is worrying and appalling. There are districts, villages and settlements that have not yet been reached and where not even the slightest help has been provided. Our crisis coordination centres are receiving many, many calls. Our colleagues are constantly on the phone. According to the information we have, thousands of people are under the rubble. Unfortunately, the death toll is rising with every minute that passes. Interventions are totally inadequate and people under the rubble are literally abandoned to their fate.

We find that AFAD is very inadequate here. In addition to our crisis coordination units and delegations that have travelled to the earthquake zone, we are also organising direct assistance on the ground. Our colleagues and party youth are participating in active rescue work to free people from collapsed buildings. We have prepared an emergency list of materials needed in the earthquake zone, which we have strongly and widely publicised through our social media accounts and will continue to do so. As a result of these announcements, we have been building solidarity networks to heal the wounds of the earthquake together. We continue to expand this network with support from home and abroad.


So far, hundreds of trucks and vans from our relief centre have reached the earthquake zone or are on their way. We would like to share with the public that we are working with a staff of two thousand volunteers on the ground. From the first moment of the earthquake, hundreds of reports of collapses and fatalities were sent to AFAD and the local authorities. We are dealing with a government that does not involve civil society and political parties and wants to centralise everything but is unable to do so. We need to express a clear and unambiguous truth: The government is trapped under the rubble. We are dealing with a government that sees death as destiny and threatens the public. Global experience shows us that natural disasters are not fate. The deaths that occur after disasters are the result of wrong urbanisation and a system based on profit. We do not accept that they come now and say what we can do, it is just fate.


Is it fate to squander the earthquake taxes collected and invest in multi-lane roads? Is it fate not to listen to science and take precautions against an obvious disaster? Is it fate to award construction contracts to favoured contractors and erect buildings in inappropriate places? Is it part of destiny to invest in guns and tanks and spend billions of dollars on war, but disappear when it comes to clearing the rubble? Is it part of destiny to build shopping centres in places designated as earthquake zones? No, a million times no! That is why we say this is not destiny, it is murder.


All our efforts are aimed at preventing new losses and overcoming these dark days together through growing solidarity. We can heal this wound together. The declaration of a state of emergency is an open admission that the state is buried under the rubble. The earthquake has shown us the importance of local democracy and decentralisation. The centralised state structure has collapsed.

Our task today is to strengthen social solidarity networks against the profit-driven economy and ruthless order. Yesterday we launched a solidarity campaign under the slogan ‘Now is the time for solidarity’. Our aim is to bring together citizens who want to show solidarity with the earthquake victims and build a long-term bridge between them. We are trying to manage with our bare hands and our existing manpower.”


When asked about the priority and urgent problems received by the HDP Crisis Centre, Güleryüz replied: “The most priority issues at the moment are the problem of shelters, the problem of hunger and, since yesterday, unfortunately, the problem of collecting the bodies. This is a big problem that is in front of us. We are trying to solve these problems on the ground with about two thousand people. But we don’t have many resources and forces to remove the debris and ease the pain of the families waiting for their bodies. Construction machinery and technical equipment are needed for this. We are trying to manage it with our bare hands and the available manpower. But let me say it again, we are trying to follow up this work both on the ground and at our headquarters with a large army of volunteers. We are carrying out this work not only with our party members and staff, but also with other NGOs and various political parties. Professional associations and trade unions like TMMOB, KESK and DISK are on the ground, and we are trying to coordinate this work with them.”

Source: ANF English