"Do not recruit quake survivors, avoid demographic change"
The chair of the chamber of industry in Turkey's western province of Kocaeli asked companies not to recruit earthquake survivors, and said, "Please let us not contribute to a situation that will change the demography."
Speaking at a meeting of Kocaeli Chamber of Industry on Wednesday, Ayhan Zeytinoglu pointed to the "ethnic structure" in the earthquake zone, home to a large Kurdish and Arab population, and said:
"It is already a problematic region in terms of ethnic structure. Accommodation in container homes and temporary residences there should be supported in order to refrain from contributing to a demographic change here by having the people move into our province."
"I kindly ask you not to recruit people arriving from the earthquake zone. I am mot saying that you should not provide aid, but do not recruit them. Let us not contribute to a situation that may change the demographic structure."
Upon reactions to his remarks, Zeytinoglu said that they have "embraced quake survivors and will continue to do so," while he pointed out again that it was essential to improve means of accommodation in the earthquake zone.
"We have been informed that most of the factories and other work places in the region have not received damage," he added.
He also shifted the emphasis from concerns about "demographic change" into the region's significance for the country's economy.
"The contribution of the ten quake-hit provinces to the country economy amounts to 20%," he said. "So we are doing our best to assist to the region's recovery, continuing to deliver container homes for safe accommodation."