Erdogan once again invokes the "plan of destiny"

Erdogan once again invokes the "plan of destiny"
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"The damage is done," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, speaking to an earthquake survivor on the third day of search and rescue operations in Maras. "All this is part of the plan of destiny"

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday linked the death toll from a massive earthquake that killed thousands in southern Turkey to the "plan of destiny," a phrase the president often uses after disasters in which his government is accused of failing to prepare in advance.

During a visit to Maras, a city near the epicenter of the quake, while talking to earthquake survivors, the president was heard saying to a victim:

“These things happen as part of destiny’s plan.”

Erdogan has been rebuked several times for attributing the deaths in other disasters to "fate," although experts and citizens say they are due to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's failure to take the necessary precautions to prevent them.

One of the most recent disasters took place in October, when a methane blast ripped through a mine near the small coal town of Amasra on Turkey's Black Sea coast, killing 41 miners.

"We are people who believe in the plan of destiny," Erdogan later told reporters, adding that such mishaps "will always be; we need to know that, too."

His remarks infuriated his opponents and sparked protests in Istanbul, with some demonstrators declaring, "It was not an accident, but a massacre."