HDP leader asks where earthquake taxes were spent
The leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP), Mithat Sancar, has demanded answers from the government on how the taxes collected for earthquake relief were used.
Sancar made the call on Tuesday in a speech to his fellow deputies in the parliament, after a powerful earthquake struck southern Turkey on Feb. 6, killing more than 48,000 people and leaving millions homeless.
"The government has collected 38 billion liras in earthquake taxes from citizens over the past 21 years, but the people affected by the earthquake have not received the necessary aid," Sancar said.
"You will not be able to avoid giving an account. You will not be able to cover up this robbery. We will not allow it," he said.
The HDP Co-Chair's remarks come at a time of increasing criticism of the Turkish government's response to the earthquake. Many accuse officials of failing to provide adequate assistance to those affected.
Sancar also accused the government of trying to shift the costs onto the backs of the poor population with a fund known as the disaster reconstruction fund.
"The priority of this government is not the lives of the people. The only thing they think about day and night is tenders, unearned money and looting. The reason for the destruction is this government, and it is trying to increase its profits by exploiting the disaster."