The Turkish deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay caused uproar with his explanation as to why Turkey refused foreign help in the first two days after Sunday’s earthquake. ‘We first wanted to see our own potential’, he said today during a press conference in the disaster area.
Many Turks and media reacted angrily, because in the meantime many people died. According to the latest count the death toll stands at around 570 people.
‘We had a list of countries that immediately offered help’, Atalay said, ‘but we put those rescue teams on hold for a while to first see our own potential.’
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged in a speech last Wednesday that the aid and rescue work was not carried out the way it should have. Only on that day did Turkey finally accept aid from abroad, for example from Israel, Armenia and the United States.