With the revival of the economy, industrial production and other activities, the return of locals to the earthquake-hit provinces will accelerate in the coming period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“Our objective is to [let those who have been evacuated] return to their homes, jobs and lives as soon as possible. I believe that the returns will accelerate with the intensification of agricultural work, with the opening of temporary trade centers and shops, and with the start of industrial production,” Erdoğan said at an iftar dinner late on March 26 in Istanbul.
Following the twin earthquakes of Feb. 6 that killed more than 50,000 people in 11 provinces in southern Türkiye, millions of people have moved to other parts of the country. They have been settled in the state’s different guesthouses, university dormitories and other relevant places.
Around 14.5 million people have been impacted by the disaster and the state is taking all the necessary actions to recover and start the construction of permanent houses for the earthquake survivors, Erdoğan reiterated.
The Turkish people and civil society have been always in the support of the earthquake victims since the first day, the president said, “At the same time, we will never forget the international assistance, especially from friendly and brotherly countries.”
As the disaster has impacted a wide area with millions of people and during harsh winter conditions, some delays and shortcomings in providing assistance and basic needs did take place, Erdoğan admitted. “But all have been compensated in a short span of time. Our objective is to revive the region in one year by building 650,000 houses, including social and economic units.”
Erdoğan said he will continue to lay the foundations of the mass houses to be erected in the earthquake-hit zone. The new residential areas will be in line with the cultural and historical fabric of the region with low-rise and earthquake-proof buildings, he said.
Stressing that Türkiye will hold one of its most critical elections on May 14, Erdoğan underlined the need for unity as the country is readying to mark its second century during which it can improve its democracy and economy.
“We are on the eve of a critical decision for our dreams, vision and targets in the next century of our nation and country, dubbed the Century of Türkiye. I wholeheartedly believe that our people will not leave us alone in this struggle as they never did in our past struggles,” he stated.