"Is Erdogan right?"

"Is Erdogan right?"
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"Is Erdogan's anger justified? Is he being criticized even though he is fulfilling all his duties? Is this criticism voiced only out of opposition to Erdogan?" asked imprisoned Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas. Then he answered all these questions.

Former HDP (People's Democratic Party) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas asked whether President Erdogan was right when he opposed all criticism, in an article he wrote for Gazete Duvar.

Here are his questions and answers:

"President Erdogan is a leader known for not tolerating criticism throughout his political life.

Although he is, of course, the first to be criticized in the face of the great catastrophe, he shows himself before the cameras in his harshest and angriest form.

So is Erdogan's anger justified? Is he being criticized even though he is doing all his duties? Is this criticism voiced only out of opposition to Erdogan?

Let us look together for answers to these questions.


Although the imminent danger emanating from the East Anatolian fault line has been known for years through scientific reports, have the structures in the settlements on the fault line been made earthquake-proof?

No, on the contrary, all unauthorized, illegal buildings were legalized by building permits. Not even a single building, including public buildings, was analyzed for earthquake-proof conditions. Everybody built the house they wanted wherever they wanted, and the administrators issued permits for these buildings, usually in exchange for bribes.

Were plans such as earthquake relief, transportation, communication and evacuation in the settlements in the earthquake zone carried out in a healthy way?

We are sadly watching that they were not.


Since this was not done before the earthquake, the destruction was enormous. So what should be done after the earthquake? Let us look at it in detail.

Was Erdogan awakened no later than five minutes after the earthquake?

I do not think so.

Was he presented with the first due diligence report no later than half an hour later?

I do not think so.

Did he realize the extent of the disaster at that moment?

I do not think so.

Did he give a first-stage alert order to the land, sea and air forces and the gendarmerie at the 35th minute?

We know he did not do it.

For example, did he ask the leaders of all political parties, professional chambers, trade unions, and employers' associations to be urgently awakened and connected to the AFAD coordination center at the 40th minute when they left the palace and headed to AFAD headquarters?

We know he did not do it.

Did he urge all provincial and district mayors outside the disaster area to wake up immediately and organize them to be ready to go with all their teams and equipment?

We know that he did not do it.

Let us assume we are in the 45th minute and Erdogan is still on his way to AFAD headquarters.

Has he asked all of our embassies and representatives abroad to ask for help from the states of the countries they are in with an emergency code?

We know he has not done that.

Has he directed the Minister of Energy to ensure that the employees of all public and private mining companies are ready for action?

We know he has not done that.

Has he directed the Minister of Transportation to make available all official civilian aircraft, helicopters, ships, trains, trucks, cranes, tow trucks, busses, and the like for use in the earthquake zone?

We know he has not done that.

Did he order the communication networks to be repaired quickly?

We know he did not do that.

Has he directed the Minister of the Interior, in cooperation with other ministries, to keep all roads leading into the earthquake area open to traffic, to quickly repair damage to roads, and to prepare sufficient security forces that can be quickly dispatched to the earthquake area to ensure safety?

We know he has not done that.

Let us assume we are now in the 55th minute and Erdogan has reached AFAD headquarters. The first damage reports have come in. All ministers have started to come to the center one by one or to connect to the conference.

Did he ask the Minister of Health to mobilize all facilities for the transportation of sick, personnel, medicines, sick and injured?

We know he did not do that.

First responders and rescue teams in the earthquake zone must have reached the rubble. All civilian and government rescue teams in other cities must have set out in proper coordination with the 10 cities affected by the earthquake. Has he received confirmation of this information from the President of AFAD?

We know he did not do that.

Did he make the most comprehensive, all-encompassing nationwide speech calling for solidarity, encouraging and warning?

We know he did not do that.

Let us say 70 minutes have passed in the meantime. While most of the citizens in the 71 provinces that did not feel the earthquake were still asleep, the state took action with all its might and is in a state of alarm.

When our citizens outside the earthquake zone woke up, they could see the great disaster and tens of thousands of public officials who intervened in the wreckage, did they see it?

Unfortunately we did not see it.


Demirtas said that if Erdogan had proceeded as described in this scenario, the spirit of solidarity, unity and cooperation would have been much greater and Turkey would have managed to pull thousands of our citizens out of the rubble alive.

He continued:

“A head of state who suffers hardship for his people would do all this and much more.


Well, Erdogan did not do these things, what did he do?

  • He called the mayors of his own party individually, but did not speak to a single opposition municipality, not even the four metropolitan municipalities that could work most effectively in the face of such a devastating earthquake.
  • Only in the middle of the day did he go public and give one of the angriest speeches of his life, blaming, dividing, insulting, and threatening the opposition.
  • He promised earthquake victims 10,000 TL and a new house.
  • Social media was restricted.
  • He declared a state of emergency.
  • He evacuated the dormitories and closed the universities.
  • He spoke only on the phone with some opposition leaders and never communicated with other leaders.
  • Civil, voluntary help was blocked.
  • He said "dishonest," he said "unworthy," he said "degenerate," he said, he said...

Demirtas concluded with the answers to his questions in the beginning of his article:

"Tell me, for heaven's sake, does Erdogan have the right to be angry about criticism?

Since Erdogan has usurped all power and become one man, shouldn't he do everything that needs to be done? Because in this system, no one acts without receiving instructions from Erdogan.

Who should we hold accountable now instead of Erdogan?

Since he is the only man, all the responsibility lies with Erdogan. He must give the greatest account to the public.

And that will happen sooner or later.”