ISTANBUL BLOG: Turkey’s earthquake victims are thankful their homes collapsed, says urban planning minister

ISTANBUL BLOG: Turkey’s earthquake victims are thankful their homes collapsed, says urban planning minister
Have a blithe day. Urban planning minister Mehmet Ozhaseki (@mehmetozhaseki).
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade February 7, 2024

The victims of the major earthquakes that struck 11 of Turkey’s southern provinces on February 6, 2023 are thankful for their collapsed homes since the new houses being constructed by the government-run Housing Development Administration (TOKI) are of a much higher quality.

So said the country’s environment, urban planning and climate change minister Mehmet Ozhaseki, who informed the victims of their quite amazing good fortune during a televised interview that took place on the first anniversary of the devastating catastrophe known to seismologists as the Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence.

Even now, the modest number of families made homeless who have been fortunate enough to move to new dwellings from “container cities”, tents and other temporary shelters to date, must be lining up to tell the minister: “God bless you. Despite the tens of thousands who died, it is so good that our homes collapsed into rubble, for you gave us brand new villas.”

The Erdogan regime, we hear from Ozhaseki, is building village homes from steel that are so strong and robust that even a 9.0-magnitude “great earthquake” could not bring them down.

The twin earthquakes of a year ago had moment magnitudes of 7.9 and 7.7 and officially killed 53,537 people and injured 107,213. More than 38,000 buildings collapsed.

The Erdogan administration says 691,000 survivors currently live in container camps. Around 14mn people were directly affected by the earthquakes.

Scandals are Turkey’s way of life. What the outside world sees are only teasers from a movie that is running 7/24 if you care to tune in.

The Turks have an idiom: “Hanging around without a stick in a dogless village”.

Screenshot: “Kopeksiz koyde degneksiz gezmek”.

The Erdogan regime is hanging around without a stick in the dogless village. They totally do not care. They feel no threat, no opposition. They are constantly jeering at Turks.

In 2021, when much of Turkey’s Aegean coast was burnt to a cinder by forest fires that went on for longer than a week, similar scandalous words to those uttered by Ozhaseki were uttered by the mayor of a provincial town.

According to Mehmet Ozeren, the mayor of Gundogmus, on seeing new houses constructed for victims of the inferno, citizens living in old homes untouched by the blaze would be saying, “We wish our homes had burned down too.”