Celal Baslangic

Celal Baslangic

The Palace regime was crushed under the rubble, as well!

The AKP regime prevented people from exchanging aid and information.

He was rather furious with the “’state-affiliated’ persons who were nowhere to be found during the first hours of the earthquake.”

He fiercely criticizes “a stance that would browbeat … those who determined how inept all the work has been.”

He laments that “The state, in a condition of utter bewilderment, abandoned society to a gigantic catastrophe.”

He has a couple of words to spare for the official spokespeople who attempt to “raise suspicions about those who speak up about the negligence and ineptitude.”

“The state power, which hopes to cover up its own responsibility, still exerts its energy on sweeping the matter under the carpet.”

He questions the significance of “responding such aggressively to those who criticize the public authority as to why lives were not saved, or to those who raise their voices to reach people whose lives can be saved as soon as possible.”

Then, he makes his most striking assessment:

“What is quite simple, but rather bitter is this: Turkey is not being governed. And for a mechanism that is unable to govern, for which it is impossible to govern, to pretend that it can is costing thousands of lives.”

Yes, bitter, is it not, that thousands of lives are lost when those who cannot govern the country posture as if they can …

One of those who sees this bitter reality for what it is, is the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) current Deputy Chairman and Party Spokesperson Omer Celik.

All the sentences in quotes above belong to Omer Celik.

Celik had penned these lines on August 22, 1999 for the Yeni Safak newspaper in the aftermath of the August 19 earthquake.

In the time since, Celik, who has climbed the ranks from “opposition” to spokesman for the Palace regime, now presents what is tantamount to election propaganda, saying “Nothing is missing,” in response to the despair felt not only by Turkey, but also by the entire world following the February 6 earthquakes.

“In no regard do we see any gaps in need right now… Both the AK Party Headquarters and the Nationalist Movement Party Headquarters, members of the Central Executive Board (MYK) and Central Decision and Executive Committee (MKYK), and our members of Parliament have been sent to the affected areas. The organizations of the People’s Alliance are on the ground. We have ministers in every province. The People’s Alliance has deputy chairmen, parliamentary members, MKYK members, and organizations.”

It is almost as if they have stepped foot on the field for the election set to take place on May 14 instead of for the cause of a massive earthquake disaster.


Yet the reality we have been living in since February 6 does not validate the claims Celik makes as the regime’s spokesperson.

People were essentially cast aside following the February 6 catastrophe that occurred in ten provinces with a cumulative population close to 14 million. In the first two days especially, those underground were deserted to face death, while those above ground were abandoned to deal with the loss of their loved ones.

The notion of “I am your father, I will save you” led to significant discrimination. The ruling party did not allow any person or institution beyond its own organizations the ability to help in a meaningful capacity. A consequence of this understanding was that people were left to suffer a terrible pain and to face death on their own.

In these sorrowful days, as in the past, they perceived people helping one another and their solidarity with each other as a threat to their own rule.

That the one-man regime was incapable of organizing to respond to a such a devastating disaster was made evident.

People were unable to reach the teams, instruments, vehicles, and tools that would have saved the lives trapped underground.

Those pinned down by the concrete blocks of collapsed buildings gave their lives either by screaming until they lost their voices or succumbing to the cold.

Those left behind could not find electricity, water, internet, natural gas, food, or shelter particularly in the first two days.

As if this great incompetence and disorganization were not enough, the Palace regime began to do everything in its power to shield from view those culpable for the deaths of so many and to render invisible the devastation of the survivors.

They began to distance journalists from the debris under which many lives remain by saying that “A State of Emergency has been declared.”

They began to ask local journalists videotaping the distressing scenes that mark the remains of the earthquake to present “a turquoise press credential” and, in the case of foreigners, to present “credentials.”

Those who spoke up about the aid that did not arrive and the nonexistent rescue teams in the first two days were taken into custody.

The Palace regime even implemented restrictions for social media that was being used by people to save their own lives and to broadcast their needs.

The regime prevented people from exchanging aid and information.

The Palace’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun announced through his social media that a “Disinformation Reporting Service” had been formed:

“The Disinformation Reporting Service has been released for the use of our public. You can report news being published and spread regarding the earthquake which you believe to be doubtful/untrue by downloading our application to your mobile device.”

Just for the sake of “preventing disinformation” they cut off what “information” remained between people.

Even that did not suffice. Erdogan also threatened countrymen to ensure that his regime would not be shaken:

“While the state and the nation have joined hands in trying to overcome this historic disaster, we are closely following those who intend to set our people against each other with fake news and distortions. When the day comes, we will open the notebook we are holding now. Our prosecutors are identifying those who attempt to cause social chaos in such inhumane methods and will be taking the necessary actions quickly.”

The Palace regime is resorting to any and all means to conceal its incompetence, its desertion of people to face a great disaster, and its responsibility for the death of so many souls.

Rather than the loss of more lives, the sole fear of those who are partners with the regime is losing the election to be held in about three months due to their mismanagement of the earthquake disaster.

The Palace regime is to blame not only for refusing to extend the necessary hand to people after the earthquake, but also for forcing them to live in coffins in the skin of homes for the sake of urban profits.

AKP Spokesperson Omer Celik’s words regarding the August 19, 1999 earthquake have come to life in a much worse manner in the February 6 earthquake a few days ago; “The state-affiliated persons did not show up in the first hours of the earthquake; those who assessed ineptitude were browbeaten; the state, in a condition of utter bewilderment, abandoned society to a gigantic catastrophe, raised suspicions about those who spoke up about the negligence and ineptitude; and for a mechanism that is unable to govern, for which it is impossible to govern, to pretend that it can has cost thousands of lives.”

Buildings were not the only things demolished in the February 6 earthquake.

This quake simultaneously became an unequivocal indicator that the one-man regime in the Palace has turned to rubble.

*Celal Baslangic: He was born in 1956 in Istanbul. He began a career in journalism at Ekspres in 1975. He graduated from Ege University, School of Journalism and Public Relations in 1978. He worked as a reporter, intelligence chief, regional representative, policy service chief, and editor-in-chief at the newspapers Demokrat İzmir and Politics and Cumhuriyet. In 1995, he was appointed as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Evrensel Newspaper. He conducted the "Time, Space and Human" interviews at Radikal for more than 10 years. He became the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Beyoglu Newspaper in 2002. In 2011, he was a Member of the Founding Broadcasting Board of IMC TV. He worked as a columnist for T24, Haberdar, and Gazete Duvar news sites. In 2017, he was the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Arti TV and Arti Gercek.

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