Tag Archives: natural disasters

Observations of an Expat – Quake Problems

The death toll of Turkey’s earthquake has passed the 20,000 mark. It will soar further as freezing weather and disease sweep through the refugee camps and devastated towns and villages to replace falling rubble as the primary cause of death.

But the earthquake has also created and exacerbated political problems and opportunities whose rippling aftershocks have the potential effect of toppling political as well as physical structures.

The first possible victim is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is coming under attack for his failure to build sounder structures in the middle of the one of the world’s most dangerous earthquake zones. It should be noted that Erdogan rose to power on the back of Bulent Ecevit’s failures after a 1999 earthquake.

The destruction in southern Turkey came at both the best and worst of times for President Erdogan. His popularity is plummeting amidst economic problems and increasing dissatisfaction with his autocratic rule. There is a real possibility that he could lose the parliamentary and presidential ballot set for 14 May.

But at the same time, the natural disaster has created opportunities for Erdogan. He has declared a three-month state of emergency which will take him right up to Election Day. This will enable him to deploy troops and tighten his stranglehold on the media. Already social media users have been arrested for criticising the government’s earthquake policies.

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