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Still no news about former Turkish ambassador trapped under the rubble in Feb. 6 earthquake

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The body of former Turkish ambassador Devrim Öztürk has not yet been pulled from under the rubble of a building in the southern province of Hatay that collapsed in the aftermath of two powerful earthquakes in Turkey’s south on Feb. 6, the T24 news website reported.

Öztürk, the Hatay representative of the Turkish Foreign Ministry who earlier served as consul general in the German city of Hamburg and ambassador to Bangladesh, was among the hundreds of people who were trapped when the Rönesans residences collapsed in the Feb. 6 earthquakes, which registered a magnitude of 7.8 and 7.5 and claimed the lives of more than 42,000 people across Turkey’s 11 provinces in the south and southeast.

On Feb 9 Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Öztürk and another ministry employee, Gökhan Aytaç, were still under the rubble.

The foreign ministry has been criticized for not doing enough for locating of the bodies of its staff from the rubble.

Oktay Erdağı, a relative of Öztürk and the former deputy director of Turkey’s Civil Aviation Authority, complained about the situation on Twitter. He said like hundreds of others who resided at the Rönesans, Öztürk was a victim of indifference, incompetence and lack of coordination in search and rescue efforts in addition to the failure of the foreign ministry and the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD).

“It’s such a shame. Don’t make his family suffer more. Get him out of the rubble,” said Erdağı.

Following the earthquakes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government were accused of poor performance in coordinating search and rescue efforts, mainly failing to mobilize enough people and a lack of coordination among the teams, which resulted in civilians in some regions trying to pull their loved ones from under the rubble themselves and finding them frozen to death although they sustained no critical injuries in the collapse.

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