Declare a Disaster Area, not a State of Emergency


The consequences of the destruction caused by the two powerful earthquakes, which took place on February 6, 2023, at 04.17 in Kahramanmaraş’ Pazarcık district and 13.24 in Elbistan on the same day, have been getting worse. 

The level of destruction is so high that these places need to be rebuilt. Moreover, thousands of people lost their lives, and more got injured. It can be said that these cities have been almost erased from the map. The suffering that resulted from the disaster in these cities and districts imposes heavy responsibilities and duties on all of us.

In this sense, the country is trying to save lives and alleviate suffering. Despite its inadequacies, there is an excellent solidarity initiative nationwide. However, at this point, the Government’s activities to respond to the disaster and tragedy at this scale do not meet the needs of the people. Therefore, we say yes to coordinated, planned, and programmed activities and communication but no to censorship and monopolistic policies and decisions that prevent solidarity.

The Government’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the ten cities where the earthquake occurred also raises serious questions. If the Government announces a disaster area in these cities, it will be enough. The disaster area enables public authorities to carry out all necessary activities and mobilize all public and private business resources for earthquake victims. In this respect, the Government should explain the ground for the State of Emergency. Even in a powerful earthquake, which may occur once in decades, our suspicious approach to the state of emergency-related powers is not a result of any ungrounded and unjustified doubts and concerns but the Government’s policies and practices of abusing power for 20 years, particularly the July 20 2016-July 18 2018 State of Emergency period. The Government also considers the state of emergency as a “grace” from God.

Like most of the public, we have concerns about the state of emergency for these ten cities when we consider how the Government used the state of emergency, which it had declared as a response to the July 15 coup attempt, for its political purposes, and introduced Emergency Decree Laws to put the constitution and laws aside, and suspended fundamental rights and freedoms, and turned unlawfulness into the ordinary regime.

There are no constitutional or legal obstacles to the most radical measures in earthquake zones. Thus, it is sufficient to declare ten cities as disaster assemblies to accelerate and facilitate the works.

In light of these facts, we highlight that the earthquake assembly SHOULD BE DECLARED A DISASTER ZONE RATHER ⁠THAN⁠ THE ⁠⁠STATE OF⁠EMERGENCY!