"We at least didn't have this specter called state in previous quakes"
A political prisoner in Turkey interviewed behind bars a fellow prisoner, who had been convicted in the same case, about her reflections after the earthquake on 6 February.
Cigdem Mater, a film maker sentenced to 18 years in prison for "aiding an attempt to overthrow the constitutional order" at the scene of 2013 Gezi Park protests, asked Mucella Yapici, an architect and urban activist sentenced to a similar prison term in the same case, what her immediate feeling was when she first heard about the earthquake on TV early Monday.
"First, a great fury," Yapici replied. "It was as though all the rage that accumulated within me in the past nine months has been discharged through some fault lines. The entire geography [of the earthquake zone], the scientific and technical warnings, all without any result as if they had been uttered against walls, started flowing with light speed in my brain. Then a crushing helplessness. Over what we had been unable to achieve. As if the entire responsibility lied with us, as if we had not been able to tell all the necessary things to the people and to administrators."
Asked to make a comparison between the situations after the 1999 earthquake and the 6 February earthquake, Yapici said:
"The greatest difference is that we are faced with a self proclaimed, hollow specter, which we call state today, and it disseminates such vast fear that all institutions and officials who submit to it are waiting for its instructions even to help themselves out of a fatal situation."
"In the previous earthquakes we at least didn't have such a specter. I guess you're asking me about the immediate rights and wrongs after the quake, but I think the immediate wrongs are inherent in the current approach, regime and mentality (...) For God's sake, what's the meaning of stalling miners who were about to set off? What's the meaning of dispatching them by road? What's the meaning of the failures in communication, such a vital need, in this era of communication (...) And we couldn't have possibly objected more to the 'Construction Amnesty' legislated in 2018. They issued licenses for over 10 million flawed buildings."
About Mucella Yapici
Yapıcı served as senior official in the Union of Turkish Engineers and Architects Chambers. She is one of the leading members of the urban ecology group Taksim Solidarity, which took part in the resistance action against the destruction of Gezi Park near Taksim Square in Istanbul in 2013.