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Over one-third of Turks hold AKP gov’t responsible for devastating effects of earthquakes: poll

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More than one-third of Turks say the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is responsible for the high death toll and devastating effects of two powerful earthquakes that shook the south of Turkey last month, a public survey has revealed.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit 11 Turkish provinces in the country’s south and southeast as people were sleeping on Feb. 6 was followed by numerous aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor, leading to the death of more than 46,000 people in Turkey and wreaking devastation in the region.

As part of the monthly “Turkey’s Pulse” public survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPoll on 2,118 people in 28 provinces Feb. 23-28, the participants were asked, “Who do you think is the most responsible for the losses in the earthquake?”

The results of the survey, posted on Twitter on Thursday by Professor Özer Sencar, the owner of MetroPoll, revealed that 34.4 percent of participants think the AKP government was “most responsible for the losses in the earthquake.”

Those who share the same opinion increase to more than 60 percent among voters of opposition parties, while it declines to 6.4 percent among supporters of the ruling AKP and 3.4 percent among supporters of its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

According to the poll, 26.9 percent of participants hold building “contractors” responsible for the devastating effects of the earthquakes, followed by those who think “municipalities,” (15.4 percent) “citizens” (4.4 percent) and “others” (4.2 percent) are responsible, while 12.9 percent said “all of them” had responsibility for the losses caused by the disaster.

People who think contractors were mainly responsible for losses sustained in the earthquakes increased to 46.2 percent and 43.6 percent among the voters of the AKP and MHP, respectively, while decreasing to 13 percent among supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 12.6 percent among supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and 11.9 percent among İYİ (Good) Party supporters.

Following the earthquakes, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP 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.

After visiting several regions affected by the quakes, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also blamed Erdoğan and his AKP for failing to prepare the country for earthquakes during their 20 years in power in a video he released on Twitter on the second day of the disaster.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the government failed to take necessary measures to coordinate resources, sufficiently utilize Turkey’s experience in such events, ensure public institutions’ cooperation with municipalities and nongovernmental organizations, send soldiers to the earthquake areas and dispatch miners, who are natural search and rescue personnel, to the areas that needed them before it was too late.

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