Ankara Mayor: Many governors refused to receive aid from us
Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankara, said that on several occasions the equipment and lorries they dispatched in support of rescue and aid operations in disaster areas were not allowed into suffering cities.
Noting that most of the equipment required for the search and rescue operations are currently in the hands of the local administrations in Turkey, Yavas told journalist Ozlem Gurses on Tuesday:
"You call the governor of a city and ask him how you can help, and he replies, "Thank you, but we don't need anything right now.' A couple of days later you see that the situation is awful there, it's beyond their capabilities. So, how do they decide? They apparently think, 'We may face problems if we accept the assistance of the municipal administration.' This is a fact. On many occasions, the equipment and lorries we sent were not allowed into suffering cities. They said, 'Why did you come anyway, we don't need help.'"
"This currently emerges as an administrative drawback. We are unfortunately faced with discrimination (...) There have been occasions when we dispatched our rescue teams to a large district, and teams from other local administrations arrived after ours have started working. The authorities direct the others to specific sites while our teams are left in the dark without any coordination. They are not even acknowledged by the authorities. They work at one site or another merely on individual calls from the survivors."
"How can it be possible to do such things after an earthquake, when human life is at stake? The local administrations of the districts we dispatched aid for are held by other political parties. We do not have any problem with that. All we want to do is to save lives, limit losses, but we have unfortunately been faced with such a situation."
Yavas noted that there are still nearly 3,500 teams of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality in the earthquake zone.
He was nominated by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in the 2019 local elections and won against the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), ending the 25-year old AKP rule in the Turkish capital.