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Turkish PM admits early 'failures' in quake aid

Erdogan acknowledges aid mistakes in first 24 hours after quake in Kurdish region and criticises anti-Kurd media sentiment

AFP , Wednesday 26 Oct 2011
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday admitted some early "failures" in his government's relief effort following Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake, but said the situation was now under control.

"We accept that there were some failures within the first 24 hours," to transfer tents and aid to the region, Erdogan said in televised remarks to party officials in Ankara, adding that in disaster situations such mistakes could happen.

The Turkish Red Crescent had sent over 17,000 tents to the area, which he said was "more than enough."

"The government and the state were mobilised with its entire means immediately when the disaster occurred.... Almost a quarter of the cabinet is there.

"We have brought the situation under control in the last couple of couple of days," he said.

Denying reports that there were some villages without any help, Erdogan said each village had received between three and 10 tents in less than 24 hours of the quake.

"We did not discriminate between Turks, Kurds or Zaza people... we said they are all our people," Erdogan said.

The tremor hit Van province in eastern Turkey, a mainly Kurdish area near the Iranian border.

The prime minister criticised some television and social media comments that described the tragedy as "payback" for Kurds, after an attack by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) killed 24 soldiers days before the quake.

"All discriminatory attitudes or implications on social media and TV are inhumane and remorseless," he said.

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