Opposition leader accuses AKP of ignoring party’s warnings for earthquake safety

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In the wake of a powerful earthquake that hit the Turkish Aegean province of İzmir last Friday, leader of the main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has accused the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of turning a blind eye to his party’s warnings to prepare the country for earthquakes.

Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP has submitted 58 parliamentary inquiries meant for government officials over the past 17 years but that all of them have been rejected by the AKP and its election partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The earthquake, which was rated at a magnitude of 7.0 by the US Geological Survey, was centered in the Aegean Sea northeast of the Greek island of Samos. The quake has claimed the lives of 109 people in İzmir while injuring close to 900 others, according to a latest statement from Turkey’s disaster management authority on Tuesday.

Kılıçdaroğlu also talked about an extensive report drafted by his party that included measures which needed to be taken to prepare the earthquake-prone country for powerful tremors. He said the CHP drafted the report in 2005 and that the then-leader of the party, Deniz Baykal, wanted it to be submitted to the AKP government and then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The main opposition leader said although the report was handed over to the government, it has taken none of the measures suggested in the report, which is gathering dust on the shelf.

Turkey is crisscrossed by fault lines and has a history of powerful earthquakes.

On June 24, 41 people were killed when a 6.8 magnitude quake hit the eastern province of Elazığ.

In 2011 an earthquake struck the eastern city of Van and the town of Erciş, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) to the north, killing at least 523 people

In the country’s worst earthquake disaster, more than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude temblor struck the western city of İzmit, 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of İstanbul. About 500,000 people were made homeless.

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