the Kahramanmaraş earthquakes will be at the top of Türkiye’s political agenda ahead of the 2023 elections. On the campaign trail, voters will closely monitor each party’s vision for relief efforts, comparing the government’s proven crisis management skills with the opposition’s potential performance. Right now, the electorate can make that comparison.
It is necessary to uphold the sense of solidarity, which emerged among states after the earthquakes. Last but not least, one would hope that the humane way of thinking can triumph over the idea of interest and exploitation in international relations. This is a time to focus on moral values and solidarity – not realpolitik.
Natural disasters, wars, and economic collapse tend to seriously undermine social order and make it impossible to address even people’s most basic needs. During such periods, it becomes difficult for communities to feed themselves, find shelter, receive medical attention, relocate, and communicate with others. Individuals and communities have provided emergency assistance to such individuals, without expecting anything in return, to address basic needs like food, shelter, and medical treatment throughout history.
There is no doubt that the Turkish Red Crescent remains a prioritized civilian entity due to its historical origins, institutional past, and capacity, but it cannot represent the entire civilian domain by itself in this day and age. As such, a mechanism for disaster management should be put in place that ensures the readiness of all official and civilian resources and the effective use of those resources for a rapid response.
Türkiye must teach everyone everywhere – whether they go to kindergarten or college or are part of professional networks in office buildings or factories – about “uninterrupted earthquake awareness” and treat earthquakes as a “question of national security.” Unfortunately, our country has periodically suffered from local relationships that undermined the political process with their “influence” and “pressure.”