Erdoğan tells opposition to ‘keep quiet’ over earthquake criticism

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hit back at criticism that his government had not done enough to mitigate the risk of earthquakes on Thursday, telling the opposition to keep quiet about issues they do not understand.

At least 114 people are believed to have died after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck the western province of İzmir on Friday.

Follwoing a visit to the area on Tuesday, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said that Turkey had failed to learn the lesson from previous disasters.

“We do the same thing after every earthquake. Nothing has changed”

Referring to earthquakes that killed hundreds of people in Erzincan in 1992 and İzmit in 1999, Kılıçdaroğlu said not enough had been done to implement the recommendations of experts.

“We have submitted 58 research proposals regarding earthquakes in 17 years. Justice and Development (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) parliamentarians said no, there is no need to investigate.”

But speaking to a meeting of AKP provincial leaders at the party’s headquarters, Erdoğan derided Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments as coming after a “tourist visit on the fifth day”.

“Why do you talk about a job you do not know. Let the man be quiet.” 

Erdoğan said Turkey was in an area of seismic activity and raised the example of the 1939 Erzincan earthquake that killed more than 30,000 people under a CHP government.

“The grandfather of the current CHP spokesperson was the then Interior Minister,” he said.