March 30, 2023

Turkey: Missing Children from Earthquakes Risk Human Trafficking, Organ Harvesting, Sexual Abuse

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by Uzay Bulut, Research Fellow

When multiple earthquakes first struck Turkey on February 6, the death toll, according to the Turkish government after a month, reached 48,448. Unofficial sources estimate that the real number is much higher.

Around 200,000 people were still waiting to be rescued from under buildings that had collapsed, according to a prediction from early February by geophysical engineer Professor Ovgun Ahmet Ercan.

The death toll was reportedly high not only because of corruption in the construction sector but also because of the government’s lack of timely aid to survivors. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to send rescue aid promptly to the earthquake-stricken area. Survivors were ignored for days. After the first earthquake, even access to Twitter was restricted for over 9 hours. More than a month later, survivors are still saying that they have not received enough help. Millions are homeless, in tents, struggling to survive.

The government, it appears, had allowed corrupt builders to erect unsafe buildings all over Turkey. The authorities and the corrupt construction sector there are therefore complicit in the deaths and destruction caused by the earthquakes.