Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Jan. 28 lambasted the government over its tax policy, asking where a tax introduced after the 1999 destructive earthquake collected from taxpayers were.
“In [eastern] Malatya and Elazığ [provinces], we encountered this incident. Many of our citizens lost their lives. But the homes they were living in were not earthquake resistant. You [government] have been in power for 17 years and you collected taxes for earthquakes. What did you do to prevent this damage?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP chief’s remarks came during the parliamentary meeting of his party in the capital Ankara.
Kılıçdaroğlu also slammed the government, saying they “get angry” when citizens question the collected taxes.
After the 1999 Marmara earthquake, the worst seismic disaster in the country’s recent history, some 63 billion Turkish Liras were collected in special communication taxes. The taxes became permanent in 2004.
Underlining that the CHP had previously brought up the issue, saying Elazığ is located on a fault line and measures should be discussed, Kılıçdaroğlu said that discussion on possible precautions took place.
“Politics is not a tool to feather one’s nest. Where did you spend the $34 billion of quake tax you collected from this nation?” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also added that scientists have been giving warnings although municipalities in quake-prone regions are not doing their part about the buildings’ structures.
İYİ Party says will question gov’t on deadly earthquake
In the meantime, opposition İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener said they will question the government over what she said were wrongdoings about earthquake precautions.
Speaking at her party’s parliamentary group meeting, Akşener stated that she did not find it appropriate to make politics over natural disasters. The Turkish nation has been able to unite in joy and sorrow and demonstrated this in the Elazığ earthquake as well despite the “separation and polarization politics” that have been going on for years.
Akşener said that the priority of politicians should be to bring the people to a safe and peaceful environment as soon as possible, but also emphasized that her party would not remain silent in the meantime.
“Of course, we follow the developments, the actions that must have been done and that has been, the fate of the taxes collected. Of course, we will hold accountable the indifference and those responsible in our country, which is located in the earthquake zone,” she said.
Akşener said that the time to bring the problems to the agenda should be after maintaining the safety and peace of the earthquake survivors.
Hurriyet Daily News