Critics Accuse Turkish Government of Cover Up

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Legal activists have accused the Turkish government of destroying evidence by quickly demolishing a one-story state office that stored concrete samples and files related to collapsed buildings in the earthquake-stricken Hatay province. The government has denied the allegations.

The magnitude-7.7 and 7.6 temblors that struck nine hours apart on Feb. 6 have left nearly 35,000 people dead in Turkey’s southeast and neighboring Syria. 

A Turkish business group estimates that the economic losses from the earthquakes could reach $84 billion, a far higher calculation than those made by some economists.

(All times Istanbul, GMT+3)

Earthquake to Impact Turkish Textile (8:15 a.m.)

The earthquake-stricken areas in Turkey were a hub for the production of textile raw materials, according to Ekonomi newspaper. The region mainly traded with the Middle East and the earthquakes could lead to a significant impact on textile exports, Ekonomi cited businessman Erol Gulmez as saying. Yarn factories in Kahramanmaras may stay suspended for six months.

Cover Up Allegations (01:06 a.m.) 

Legal activists have blamed the government of blatantly covering up evidence by hastily demolishing a one-story state building, housing concrete samples and files about collapsed buildings in quake-stricken Hatay province. The country’s urbanization ministry denied the allegations and said the data was already digitally saved and that the files would be transferred elsewhere. However, activists said the abolishment was done before the files were taken out of the building as Fox TV footage showed images of hundreds of files among the debris.

University Closures Criticized (01:00 a.m.)

The government’s decision to shift to distance learning for university students has been criticized by academicians and opposition leaders who argue that sacrificing the quality of education is a serious mistake. Instead, they propose that the government should have relocated the homeless people to the thousands of hotels along the country’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.”

Hatay Airport Reopened (00:47 a.m.) 

Turkey has repaired the airport in Hatay province as civilian and rescue flights resumed late Sunday.

Probe of Builders Expands (11:40 pm ET)

At least 34 contractors are being investigated for potentially shoddy construction work, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said. At least three people have been arrested, seven detained and another seven barred from leaving Turkey, AP reported, citing the Justice Ministry. While the country’s construction codes on paper meet earthquake-engineering standards, they are rarely enforced, the AP said.

US Secretary of State Blinken to Visit Turkey, News Website Says (7:56 p.m.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Turkey next week to show solidarity with the earthquake-hit Nato ally, according to the London-based Middle East Eye news website, which cited two Turkish sources. 

The people said Blinken’s visit had been arranged before the earthquake. The State Department hasn’t so far announced a trip.

Israeli Team to Return Home, Citing Security Risk (6:49 p.m.)

Israeli team will end rescue operations in Kahramanmaras due to “significant security threat.” The IDF delegation will return to Israel in the coming days, army spokesman’s office in a text message to journalists. 

Tanker Loadings of Azeri Oil Resume at Turkey’s Ceyhan Terminal (5:30 p.m.)

Loading restarted on Sunday afternoon, Tamam Bayatli, a spokeswoman for BP’s Baku office, said by email.

BP invoked force majeure on Azerbaijani oil exports via the terminal, which is not far from the epicenter of the quakes, as it did an assessment of possible damage. 

Loadings of Azeri Oil Resume at Turkey’s Ceyhan Terminal

Death Toll Near 35,000 (4:56 p.m.)

The death toll in Turkey from the two quakes rose to 29,605, disaster management agency AFAD said. In Syria, the toll is 5,273, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which uses a network of activists on the ground. 

Thousands of people are still missing, some 80,000 were injured and more than 6,400 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed, according to government figures. The death toll has now far exceeded that of the 1999 earthquakes near Istanbul, when about 18,000 people died, according to official figures. 

$84 Billion of Economic Loss Expected in Turkey (3:05 p.m.)

Earthquakes in Turkey are expected to cause an economic loss of over $84 billion, equivalent to approximately 10% of the country’s GDP, according to business group Turkonfed. The group attributes $70.1 billion to housing losses, with $10.4 billion as a result of a loss of national income. Additionally, the group highlights the infrastructural damage to roads, electricity, natural gas, oil pipelines, communications, hospitals, and schools.

Turkish Business Group Sees Quakes’ Economic Toll at $84 Billion

–With assistance from , , and .



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