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Erdogan: May elections should take place despite the earthquake

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday ruled out delaying elections after the devastating quake that killed tens of thousands in Turkey, saying the vote will go ahead as scheduled on May 14.

After the massive 7.8-magnitude quake that killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey, speculation mounted over whether elections – which could keep Erdogan’s Islam-based government in power until 2028 – could go ahead.

Last month, Erdogan declared three-month states of emergency in 11 quake-hit provinces, and the region is still suffering from strong tremors that make the likelihood of an election campaign in the region extremely unlikely.

But Erdogan told his ruling party lawmakers in Ankara’s parliament that “on May 14, the (Turkish) people will do what is necessary”.

A delegation from Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Committee launched a mission to the earthquake zone on Monday to report on the situation of voters and the security of the elections.

Erdogan’s government has come under fire for failing to deploy enough humanitarian aid and relief teams to multiple locations in the days after the earthquake.

Survivors in several provinces told AFP they had to pull people out with their bare hands and complained about the lack of help in the first few days.

Erdogan acknowledged some “shortcomings” immediately after the disaster, but blamed severe weather and damaged roads.

“There were shortcomings, disruptions and delays, but we … rushed to help the quake survivors with all our might,” he said Wednesday.

“We don’t hide behind excuses,” he added.

“Fall Among the Rubble”

Disaster struck just as Erdogan was gaining momentum and beginning to raise his approval ratings from a low reached during a dire economic crisis that exploded last year.

The quake affected 14 million people in Turkey and caused tens of thousands of buildings to collapse.

It has caused more than $34 billion in damage to the country, the World Bank said on Monday, adding that the estimate does not take into account the cost of reconstruction, which is “potentially twice that”.

Opposition parties have criticized Erdogan’s handling of the disaster and accused him of not preparing the earthquake-prone country for a disaster.

“We know that some are rubbing their hands waiting for the state and government to fall under the rubble,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan’s opponents have not been able to agree on a candidate for more than a year and wanted to choose a name on Thursday.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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