The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) sole focus during the election campaign will be on efforts to heal the wounds of the earthquake victims and build new houses for them, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 6.
“Usually, the election processes are damaging and can cast a shadow on efforts to relief efforts. But what Türkiye needs is to focus on fulfilling the needs of the victims of the disaster,” Erdoğan said following a weekly cabinet meeting.
Erdoğan said holding elections as soon as possible on May 14 will be important so that the country can continue to deal with the pain and wounds of the people, noting “The formal process will begin on March 11 by the Supreme Election Board [YSK] after a decree of mine for the renewal of the polls will be issued on the Official Gazette on March 10.”
“For us, the focus will continue to be the earthquake and recovering damages. We will not digest running an election campaign based on political polemics when 10 million people were affected by the earthquake that destroyed a part of the country,” he stated.
Erdoğan said they are noting those who are trying to provoke the people against the state and those who are trying to sabotage the relief works, saying “We will settle the accounts with these people only after the situation returns to normalcy.”
“We are not going to be preoccupied with nothing other than the earthquake. Türkiye has no luxury for waste of time and energy,” he said.
He also stressed that he will issue a decree on March 11 for facilitation of the registry of address changes of the earthquake victims so that they can vote in a safe way in the elections.
In other remarks, Erdoğan informed that the death toll of the Feb. 6 earthquakes exceeded 46,000. Stressing importance of urban transformation, Erdoğan has urged the nation for a new urban transformation especially in the provinces with active fault lines, stressing that there are around 6.5 million buildings that need to be re-built across the country.
“Urban transformation plans are a part of our works to address the disasters. But, on Feb. 6, we saw that the disasters are not waiting for our plans. Now, we need to do whatever is necessary as quick and efficiently as possible,” Erdoğan said.
He criticized the opposition for blocking the government’s efforts for urban transformation, informing that they will unveil a new financial model to encourage the people for renewing their buildings.