Turkey Intends To Hold Elections On May 14 Despite Quake


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated on Wednesday that his government still intends to hold elections a month earlier than scheduled despite an earthquake last month that devastated parts of southern Turkey.

In an address to legislators of his ruling party, Erdogan chided critics of the government’s handling of the earthquake’s aftermath and said the people would give their response to those critics on May 14 — the election date his ruling party had tentatively set for before the deadly tremor hit.

The Feb. 6 earthquake and strong aftershocks that struck Turkey and Syria have killed around 50,000 people — the vast majority in Turkey.

Close to 204,000 buildings either collapsed or were severely damaged in Turkey, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Officials say 14 million people were affected by the quake and millions of people have either left or had been evacuated from the quake-stricken region.

Erdogan didn’t provide information on how the elections could be organized in the quake zone or say whether displaced survivors would be able to cast ballots in their new locations.

The Turkish leader, who has been in power since 2003, is seeking a third term in office as president.

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