Many in Turkey are frustrated that rescue operations have been painfully slow. Others say that the Turkish government delayed the delivery of assistance to the most affected region.
By Justin Spike
Antakya, Turkey (AP) — Six days after the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey thousands of people will be killed pain and disbelief are turning into anger and tension over the feeling that there has been a ineffective, unfair and disproportionate response to the historic disaster.
Many in Turkey are frustrated that the rescue operations have been carried out with a painful slowness and because valuable time has been lost in finding people alive under the rubble.
Others, particularly in the southern province of Hatay near the Syrian border, say the Turkish government has delayed delivering aid to the hardest-hit region, allegedly for both political and religious reasons.
In Adiyaman, southeastern Turkey, Elif Busra Ozturk was waiting Saturday for news of her uncle and aunt, who were trapped under the rubble of the building where they lived. The bodies of his two cousins had already been located.
“For three days, I waited outside for help. Nobody came. There were so few rescue teams that they could only intervene in places where they were sure that there were people alive, ”he said.
At the same compound, Abdullah Tas, 66, said he had been sleeping in a car near the building where his son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren were buried. Rescuers arrived four days after the earthquake. Associated Press he was unable to independently verify his claim.
“What good is that to the people under the rubble?” she asked.
In the ancient city of Antakya, crowds of onlookers stood behind police tape on Saturday to watch bulldozers scratch at a collapsing luxury high-rise apartment building.
There were more than 1,000 people in the 12-story building when the earthquake struck, according to relatives who were watching the rescue efforts. They said there were still hundreds inside, but complained that the effort to free them was slow and not serious.
“This is an atrocity, I don’t know what to say,” said Bediha Kanmaz, 60. The bodies of his son and his 7-month-old grandson were already taken out of the building, still holding each other, but his daughter-in-law was still inside.
“We open body bags to see if they are ours, we are checking if they are our children. We are even reviewing the ones that are in pieces,” she commented.