Over 10,000 people gathered early on Tuesday to hold a vigil for the one-year anniversary of the tragic earthquakes that hit southeastern Turkey, as some condemned the government’s negligence in the aftermath.
The magnitude 7.8 tremor, the deadliest earthquake in Turkey’s modern history, had levelled towns and parts of cities in the country’s southeast and neighbouring Syria.
It killed over 50,000 people in Turkey, and about 5,900 in Syria, leaving millions displaced and homeless.
In Hatay, a Turkish province which was the worst hit, people yelled for the government and local authorities to resign during the vigil, and demanded for officials to not present themselves at the memorial, while they made booing speeches.
Residents have said that many people died not because of the buildings caving in, but rather from waiting so long for the government’s aid while trapped in the rubble in the cold.
Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdogan, in a statement he posted on X said that the pain of the loss from the earthquakes was still as fresh now as it was a year ago. He had also said that his government had moved in the immediate aftermath of what they have now tagged: “the disaster of the century”.
“The unity of the century was shown in the face of the disaster of the century,” he had said.
But Hatay residents still feel that the government had abandoned the people of the city to die.
“Thousands of people died here. Where were they [the government]? Why did they leave Hatay like this? Why did they forget about us?” Aksu had queried.