AKP blocks and seizes earthquake aid in Ağrı

The earthquake aid supplies provided by the Kurds in Ağrı province were blocked by the government and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). Patnos District Governorate confiscated the Patnos Municipality's aid truck without citing any reason.

Government officials have blocked earthquake aid in Agri province, arguing that aid should be provided through their logo and the notorious Islamist organisation Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). The HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Patnos Municipality Co-Mayor Müşerref Geçer and HDP Ağrı provincial executive Cemal Akar spoke to ANF about the government blocking in Ağrı.


Geçer said: “As Patnos Municipality, we launched a campaign in the aftermath of the earthquake, but we have seen our vehicles stopped, and our aid supplies confiscated for some reasons from the very beginning. They blocked our aid materials for lame excuses. Law enforcement officers told us that “aid can only be provided through AFAD”. There have been many other obstructions. Their aim is to prevent social unity and solidarity. This is a political attitude.”


Geçer continued: “We visited families who came from the earthquake-hit cities, and we are doing our best for them. Almost 20-25 earthquake survivor families came to Patnos. We are running a campaign to meet the needs of female survivors only. We are organizing aid campaigns through social solidarity and the unity of women. We went to Adıyaman. We saw social solidarity there. HDP people actively participated in the aid efforts. We went to villages and neighbourhoods where tents were not provided in the first days. Our municipality sent a rescue team consisting of 25 people to the region. There was neither the governor nor the mayor there. Our organized campaign disturbed them. There was great support from our people, whom we thank once again. We are organising a campaign to mark March 8, and we call on all our women and people to show solidarity with the campaign.”


HDP Ağrı provincial executive Cemal Akar said that the pro-government IHH blocked the citizens who brought aid materials to the HDP and seized them. Akar noted that they formed a coordination committee with HDP headquarters on the morning of the earthquake. “We started to work to eliminate the food and water shortage in the earthquake area. Our patriotic friends delivered a large amount of aid. The aid trucks organized by our Patnos Municipality were blocked. We have made statements on this subject. The Kurdish people have a strong sense of solidarity, they have provided serious assistance and we have made great efforts to deliver aid materials to the earthquake area. We delivered 15 trucks of aids to Ağrı. We were recently informed that there was a need for heating stoves, and we sent them as well. Moreover, some earthquake survivors came to Agri. We have 15 fully furnished houses now. As soon as more families arrive, we will settle them there. We have the means to meet the needs of the earthquake victims here for one year. We, as the HDP’s provincial organization and the people of Ağrı, will stand by our citizens hit by the earthquakes to the end. However, we encounter obstacles as we offer help. The government's aim is to put their own logo on the aid materials. It is disturbing to see the government behaving this way at the time of such a disaster. There were serious obstacles, our friends who wanted to deliver aid to us were blocked and they were asked "Why are you taking these supplies to the HDP?". They confiscated the aid materials that were coming to us. Whatever they do, our pain is common, our solidarity is common.”


Remarking that the IHH wanted to monopolize the aid campaign in Agri, Akar said: “We announced this campaign on the social media. They stopped the citizens who brought aid to us and told them ‘There is a government decision, and the aid will be delivered through AFAD’. They try to exploit our people's sense of charity and philanthropy. People should choose the organizations that they want to help. Our aid efforts are transparent. Our coordination centre is working quite openly. The government wants everything to be done by its own agencies.”