Devastating Earthquake Threatens Power hold of Turkish President (2023)
The current President of Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He has been in office since August 28, 2014, and was re-elected for a second term on June 24, 2018. Before becoming President, Erdogan served as the Prime Minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014.
Erdogan was born on February 26, 1954, in Istanbul, Turkey. He began his political career in the Islamist Welfare Party, serving as mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. The party was later banned, and Erdogan served time in jail for inciting religious hatred, but was released in 1999 and co-founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) the following year.
Understanding Erdogan’s Legacy as Prime Minister and President of TurkeyDuring his time as Prime Minister , Erdogan implemented a series of economic and political reforms that helped to modernize Turkey and improve its relations with the international community. However, his tenure was not without controversy, with critics accusing him of authoritarian tendencies and stifling dissent.
As President, Erdogan has continued to be a divisive figure, with his government cracking down on opposition groups, curtailing press freedoms, and implementing policies that have drawn criticism from the international community. However, he maintains a strong base of support among conservative and religious voters in Turkey.
Earthquakes can have a significant impact on a country’s political and social landscape, depending on the extent of the damage and the government’s response. In the past, earthquakes have led to changes in government and increased pressure on leaders to address issues related to infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and public safety. It is important for governments to respond effectively to such crises and work to support their citizens in times of need.
Turkey: Turkey is a country that is vulnerable to earthquakes
Turkey is a country that is vulnerable to earthquakes due to its location on several active fault lines. In recent years, the Turkish government has taken measures to improve its disaster preparedness and response capabilities, but earthquakes can still cause significant damage to infrastructure and loss of life.
In 1999, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the northwestern region of Turkey, killing over 17,000 people and causing widespread damage. Since then, the Turkish government has implemented stricter building codes and improved its emergency response systems, including search and rescue operations and medical aid.
Despite these efforts, earthquakes remain a serious threat to Turkey, and there is always the possibility of another major earthquake striking in the future. In the event of a significant earthquake, it will be important for the government to respond quickly and effectively to minimize the loss of life and provide aid to affected areas. The international community is likely to play a role in providing assistance as well.
The devastating earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6, 2023, is primarily a human tragedy that has resulted in the deaths of at least 45,000 individuals to this point. It also poses a threat to the presidency of Turkey.
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Disaster : A Disaster can be defined as a sudden event or occurrence that causes widespread damage
A Disaster can be defined as a sudden event or occurrence that causes widespread damage, destruction, and loss of life. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, can be particularly devastating, but man-made disasters, such as industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, and war, can also cause significant harm.
Disasters can have a range of effects on communities and individuals, including physical injuries, emotional trauma, property damage, and economic disruption. They can also exacerbate existing social inequalities and leave vulnerable populations particularly vulnerable.
In the aftermath of a Disaster, response efforts typically focus on providing emergency aid and support to affected individuals and communities, including search and rescue operations, medical care, and the distribution of food, water, and shelter. Longer-term recovery efforts can include rebuilding damaged infrastructure, restoring essential services, and addressing the social and economic impacts of the disaster.
Disaster preparedness is an important component of disaster management and can help to mitigate the effects of a disaster. This can include measures such as developing evacuation plans, stockpiling essential supplies, and investing in infrastructure that can withstand disasters. However, disasters can still have unpredictable and far-reaching effects, highlighting the need for ongoing investment in disaster preparedness and response efforts.
The disaster has significant repercussions not only for the politics of the nation but also for the economy, which is expected to suffer a loss of USD 84 billion as a result of the damage.
The parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey are scheduled for June 2023. Even before the earthquake, Erdogan’s popularity was falling, in part because of the economic crisis and growing public concern about his autocratic style of governance, especially among younger voters.
Earthquake : An earthquake is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the earth’s crust shakes
Erdogan : Erdogan is a Turkish name that is commonly used as a surname, but it can also be used as a given name. The name is a combination of two words: “Er” and “dogan”. “Er” means “brave” or “manly” in Turkish, while “dogan” means “born” or “birth” in Turkish. Therefore, Erdogan can be translated to mean “brave birth” or “manly birth.” The name is most commonly associated with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the current President of Turkey.
Erdogan has taken every precaution to avert any political repercussions from the earthquake and to shift any blame. The earthquake was quickly referred to as “the disaster of the century” by his Justice and Development Party (AKP), the media under his control, and the government agency that runs mosques, called Diyanet. The implication is that Erdogan was unable to prevent the magnitude of the human cost.
Erdogan himself declared that it was “not possible to be prepared for such a disaster” as he assessed the damage. He also referred to it as “destiny.” However, critics aren’t sold. Both the failure to provide coordinated assistance following the earthquake and the lack of sufficient preparations before it have been attributed, according to analysts, to Erdogan’s highly centralized one-man rule.
The record of Erdogan certainly makes him susceptible to claims of culpability regarding the scale of the destruction.
Erdogan, who has been in charge since 2003, has earned a reputation for being an autocrate who prefers to silence opposition to dialogue with critics. He is unlikely to change his political views now, according to many political observers.
Erdogan’s Political Predicament in the Wake of the Earthquake
As a result, the opposition is now urging Turkish voters to select a new leadership that can better prepare the nation for upcoming earthquakes.
Erdogan’s Party seems concerned that public outrage over the disaster’s handling may have an impact on the upcoming elections.
Former Turkish Parliament speaker and founder of the AKP, Bülent Arinç, publicly advocated for a one-year postponement of elections. However, elections cannot be postponed under the Turkish Constitution unless there is a war. As a result, Arinç said that the Constitution was “not sacred” and that it should be ignored.
Erdogan is in a major predicament. He will likely lose the elections in June 2023 if he allows them to take place as planned. Before the earthquake, polls indicated that he would lose the presidential contest to one of three candidates.
The Challenges Facing Erdogan’s Political Dominance
Prior to the earthquake, Turkey was already facing a significant economic crisis, with an annual inflation rate of more than 80% over the past six months. An alliance against Erdogan has been formed by six opposition parties, some of which were founded by former AKP vice prime ministers and prime ministers.
Even though it would be against the constitution, Erdogan may find the idea of delaying the elections advantageous for all of these reasons.
However, Erdogan is unsure of the future course of these numerous political and economic issues, which may escalate into the coming year. As a result, delaying the elections carries risks.
In any case, maintaining Erdogan’s political dominance in the future is likely to be more challenging. Even before the earthquake, his power was already at risk.