Celal Sengor: "Erdogan has totally failed!"
The last major earthquake in 1999 in Golcuk, Turkey, killed nearly 30,000 people, but Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has done "almost nothing" since then to prevent a similar disaster, according to leading Turkish geoscientist Celal Sengor.
"Erdogan had laws drafted for years to ensure that houses would be built earthquake-proof in the future. But when the laws were finally in place, he did next to nothing to enforce them," Sengor said in an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper.
He claimed that "corruption has increased massively" since Erdogan has been in power, and that much of the money the state uses to protect against earthquakes has ended up in the pockets of some corrupt officials.
"Erdogan has created a climate in which no one dares to speak out. He has transferred or fired critical public servants. Even citizens who criticized him after Monday's earthquake, he has slandered as 'dishonorable people,'" Sengor said.
Sengor also warned that an earthquake in Istanbul would have "terrible consequences."
"I fear that there will be between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths. Since 60 percent of the buildings in the city were built illegally, 8,000 of them would probably be completely destroyed in an earthquake."