February 16, 2023
We have received plenty of solidarity messages from you so far since the first moment of the catastrophic earthquake disaster.
First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all your letters as well as your various solidarity efforts on behalf of our party. Your outstanding solidarity with TKP [Turkish Communist Party] and with our people has strengthened our efforts inside during that difficult period.
On the eleventh day of the earthquake, we may identify that we are in a new phase of the crisis now. I would like to briefly share with you the recent situation and how TKP is planning to adopt its solidarity work to the updated needs in the field.
As the search and rescue efforts gradually ends, debris removal work has started. But given the dimensions of the destruction, it is quite apparent that we have thousands of people yet under the rubble. Although according to the recent official data, 36.187 citizens have lost their lives whereas 108.068 citizens have been injured, these numbers seem far from reflecting the reality, unfortunately.
Survivors are being resettled in some cities determined by the government. Some dormitories and hotels are applied for this resettlement process. Universities are shifted to the distance education for that reason until the end of this school year. And the need for keeping the universities open is one of the recent debate topics in Turkey for that reason. Communist Youth of Turkey (TKG) is struggling against that decision which would result with isolation of the youth of our country and blocking the right to education.
In addition to the official resettlement process, some citizens who are affected by the earthquake are leaving the region with their own opportunities and settling in cities where they do have kinship or friendship ties. However, we know that the majority of the population still in the region, waiting for the bodies of their family members under the rubble or trying to find some temporary solutions to hold on their cities.
Under the given conditions, we are planning to continue both our political struggle and solidarity work with these priorities:
-The political power in Turkey and the state itself, which can be used almost interchangeable in Turkey context, was proved to be lack of any organization and coordination ability. And besides all the caderisation policies of the government which might have an effect on that result, the main reason behind that scandal is the private sector itself. The state does not have the capability to act and to intervene such a crisis in harmony because of the privatization of all the related public sources and services so far. Besides this picture of incompetence, TKP, with all its well-organized and well-coordinated operation since the first day, started to fall within the area of interest of many people. Even the ones among the public officials… We foresee that, with the timely and proper political moves, there is an important chance to bring a relatively large mass in Turkey with the idea of need for a statist-planned economy and a secular and an independent-sovereign country. And out party comes to the forefront as the only consistent representative of this political line. In order to consolidate this interest towards TKP, we have started a public campaign calling people to strengthen the will to found a new egalitarian country with TKP. In addition, a series of meetings on earthquake with a such political agenda start on February 18 in Ankara.
-It is not yet clear if the elections would be realized as scheduled. There are some signals from the government’s side pointing out a possible need for a delay. It is obvious that there are concrete barriers now on having the elections in the earthquake region. But what we say is that the elections should be had in the earliest date which is physically possible as we are face to face with a government that lost all its legitimacy.
-The need for the solidarity materials in the earthquake region continues but in a diminishing trend. Instead, in a more comprehensive sense, creating solidarity-induced residence areas is needed. Some state institutions and civil society organizations started to form tent cities but they are neither sufficient in number nor qualified enough to meet the needs. We are now working on a settlement plan with a hybrid model including tents for accommodation and prefabricated buildings for common use areas such as dining hall, laundry room, child friendly space, infirmary, educational activities and so on. There are many volunteers and potential donators for such an attempt in advance. We also think that it would be an important step against the attempt to transform and gentrify Antakya region specifically, of which people have an incompatibility with the government for years due to political and cultural reasons. We will inform you in detail on this plan once all the necessary components become more clear.
-On the other hand, some part of the earthquake victims are moving to the other cities as explained. Some families have already visited our district houses in that cities in order to keep the solidarity where they moved. In addition to the ongoing solidarity campaign for the needs in the earthquake region, our organisations started to focus on growing the solidarity with the earthquake victims living in the localities they cover.
We are face to face an important political and social cleavage which provides a ground for deepening the crisis of this system if we could manage to be fast enough with the accurate political moves. We assure you that we act with the will of doing our best and mobilize all necessary sources in that regard.
We will continue to keep you updated on the further developments. Endless thanks once again for your fraternal solidarity.
TKP General Secretary