Turkey’s earthquake failures make Erdogan appear vulnerable.

The most devastating earthquake in Turkey since 1939 has raised serious concerns about whether such a large-scale disaster could have been avoided and whether President Erdogan’s government could have done more to save lives.

With elections on the horizon, his 20-year reign is coming to an end, and his calls for national unity have gone unheeded.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged shortcomings in the response, but he appeared to blame fate on a trip to a disaster zone: “Things like this have always happened. It’s all part of fate’s plan.”

Turkey is located on two fault lines and has earthquake building codes that date back over 80 years. However, last Monday’s double quake was far more powerful than anything seen since 1939. At 04:17, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, followed by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hundreds of miles away.

Search and rescue efforts were hampered.

Search and rescue efforts were hampered.
It necessitated a massive rescue operation spanning ten of Turkey’s 81 provinces.

However, the response took time to build, and some villages were inaccessible for days. Over 30,000 people from the professional and voluntary sectors, as well as teams from many other countries, eventually arrived.

Over 6,000 buildings collapsed, and workers from Turkey’s Afad disaster authority were caught in the quakes.

Those first few hours were critical, but roads were damaged, and search and rescue teams couldn’t get through until day two or three.

Turkey has had more earthquakes than almost any other country, but the founder of the main volunteer rescue group believes politics got in the way this time.

The armed forces led the operation following the last major earthquake in August 1999, but the Erdogan government has sought to limit their influence in Turkish society.

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