Uzay Bulut: Turkish government shows it hates Cyprus more than it loves its own citizens by rejecting humanitarian assistance

turkey earthquake uzay bulut turkish government

The Turkish government has refused to accept any assistance from the Republic of Cyprus despite the country suffering immensely from the earthquake that caused mass devastation on Monday.

Turkish social media has reacted negatively to this news, urging the Erdoğan government to reconsider its decision. Amongst those is Turkey-born journalist Uzay Bulut, who on Twitter highlighted that:

"Since 1974, Turkey has illegally occupied 36% of Cyprus. Yet, Cyprus offered assistance to the victims of the earthquake. By rejecting this humanitarian offer, the Turkish government demonstrates that its hate towards Cyprus is far greater than its love for its own citizens."

Director General of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs Kornelios S. Korneliou said that as soon as the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated, the Republic of Cyprus expressed readiness to contribute with the mission of the rescue team.

However, the answer received from Turkey, according to him, was: "We got the answer from Turkey, 'Thank you but we won't take it'."

"There is the issue of non-recognition and it seems that in matters of natural disasters and human tragedies the political position often prevails," he added.

"Shameful if true. Pretty sure the *people* under the rubble and their families would be grateful for any help," commentated one Turkish social media user following Ankara's decision.

"I'm tired of saying sorry," said another.

Turkey’s disaster management authority has raised the official death toll from Monday’s quake up to 7,108 people. The combined total, with the 2,470 deaths recorded officially in Syria, has reached 9,578.

The numbers are expected to continue to rise as further rescue work and excavations are carried out. Emergency services have been hampered by poor weather.

Cold weather continues to be expected in the region struck by Monday’s quake. The BBC’s Turkish language service reports that Turkey’s meteorological service has predicted minimum and maximum temperatures for Kahramanmaraş today as -6C and 1C (21-34F), and for Gaziantep between -5C and 1C (23-34F). Diyarbakır is expected to have continued snowfall, with temperatures climbing to 2C (35F) at most.

Pope Francis offered his prayers for the thousands of victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey and called on the international community to continue to support rescue and recovery efforts.

“I am praying for them with emotion and I wanted to say that I am close to these people, to the families of the victims and everyone who is suffering from this devastating disaster,” he said, Reuters reports.

“I thank those who are offering help and encourage everyone to show solidarity with these countries, some of which have already been battered by a long war,” he added at the end of his weekly audience in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican on Wednesday.

AFP reports that in Gaziantep in Turkey, shops are closed and there is no heat because gas lines have been cut to avoid explosions. Finding petrol was tough. About 100 people wrapped in blankets slept in the lounge of an airport terminal, it reports.

“We saw the buildings collapse so we know we are lucky to be alive,” said Zahide Sutcu, who went to the airport with her two small children.

“But now our lives have so much uncertainty. How will I look after these children?”

In Kahramanmaraş, reporters spoke to Ali Sagiroglu, who expressed frustration at the response of emergency services.

“I can’t get my brother back from the ruins. I can’t get my nephew back. Look around here. There is no state official here, for God’s sake,” he said.

“For two days we haven’t seen the state around here. Children are freezing from the cold.”

READ MORE: TURKEY EARTHQUAKE: Greek rescuers have saved four lives in Hatay, second team dispatched to disaster zone.