Deaths Top 23,000; Politics Complicate Syrian Aid

(Bloomberg) —

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the initial state response was slowed by the fact that responders and their families were trapped themselves under collapsed buildings.

BoFA estimates that Turkey’s reconstruction costs could range from $3 billion to $5 billion, or possibly more. Turkey’s banking regulator also relaxed credit card repayment rules for those in the affected areas.

The death toll in Turkey and Syria surpassed 23,000, with tens of thousands still missing. Over 86,000 were evacuated from the earthquake area.

Important Developments

  • Turkish anger turns to Erdogan over earthquake delays and weak buildings

  • Earthquake aid is a political pawn as powers quarrel over access to Syria

  • Turkish opposition targets market regulators after stock market turmoil

  • Turkey wants Russian green light for faster aid deliveries to Syria

  • Turkey’s main opposition files complaint over Twitter blackout

(All times Istanbul, GMT +3)

Credit card payment rules relaxed (9:24 p.m.)

Turkey’s banking regulator BDDK said the minimum monthly payment quota for credit cards would be reduced to 20% for all those affected in the earthquake zone. The quota to be paid – based on the credit card limit – was up to 40% before the decision was made.

Banks make their own decisions about blocking cards for failure to pay the minimum required amount. You can push card payments back, including minimum amounts.

The decisions are valid until January 1, 2024.

Syrian aid becomes a political pawn (8:32 p.m.)

Aid shipments to Syrian victims have been hampered by disputes between rival powers in the country’s more than decade-long war.

While supplies have flowed to badly damaged regions of Turkey, the affected areas in Syria are mostly controlled by anti-government forces, which President Bashar al Assad has been fighting since 2011. The US and Europe amid longstanding international sanctions against Assad and his government for atrocities committed since the beginning of the conflict, leaving the earthquake victims as pawns in the broader struggle for statehood in the Middle East.

Messi Auctions Shirt (7:36 p.m.)

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A match-worn shirt signed by soccer star Lionel Messi will be auctioned off to benefit earthquake victims, Turkey’s state agency Anadolu said.

Tombs Without Names (6:34 p.m.)

The body count in southern Turkey is so high that graves are being marked with numbers instead of names as authorities speed up burials. In Hatay province, bodies are transported to “earthquake cemeteries” after being checked at local hospitals. If identification is not possible, they will be buried after DNA samples, fingerprints and photos have been taken.

Cost of Reconstruction (6:21 p.m.)

“It’s very difficult to put a total cost estimate at this point,” but the estimated cost of rebuilding collapsed and damaged buildings in Turkey is between $3 billion and $5 billion, said Bank of America Turkey economist Zumrut Imamoglu. in a note. “At least another $2-3 billion is needed to support affected people,” the report said.

“Many other costs are associated with the disaster, such as repairing the energy and transport grid, destroying business activities, increasing bad loans and other humanitarian costs.”

Collapsed Building Builder Arrested (6:08 p.m.)

Turkish authorities have arrested the builder of a collapsed building in Hatay province, allegedly as he was trying to flee the country, the Haberturk news website reported.

Death toll exceeds 23,000 (5:17 p.m.)

The death toll in Turkey and Syria rose to 23,425, according to Turkish officials and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which deploys a network of activists on the ground. Tens of thousands of people were still missing.

According to President Erdogan, the number of injured in Turkey is over 77,000.

Erdogan is annoyed with the construction quality (3:17 p.m.)

Erdogan on Friday pointed to the difficulty of dispatching immediate response teams to the quake zone and highlighted the massive extent of the destruction.

Critics say the government’s delay in sending cranes and other heavy machinery to lift concrete slabs has missed a crucial opportunity to save people. Experts fear tens of thousands more are buried under the rubble, adding to the death toll.

Rental Subsidy from Turkish State (3:17 p.m.)

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The government is preparing a “comprehensive” post-quake development program and will “need the help of both the nation and other countries,” President Erdogan said.

The state will pay rent for a year for tremor-affected people who don’t want to stay in tents, he added.

Iraqi Oil Cargoes Return to Normal (3:10 p.m.)

According to Mohammed Saadoon, deputy general manager of Iraq’s state-owned oil marketing company SOMO, Iraqi oil shipments from Turkey’s Ceyhan terminal are “returning to normal.

Shipments have taken place from Ceyhan’s Quay 3; The other two quays are scheduled to be operational on Friday after maintenance, he said.

Read more: BP says Azerbaijani oil exports from Turkey are yet to restart

Opposition targets market regulators (1:43 p.m.)

Turkey’s main opposition party filed a criminal complaint against leading market regulators, claiming they failed in their duties by refusing to halt trading on the country’s main stock exchange following the earthquakes.

According to CHP MP Murat Bakan’s complaint, about 10% of all investors in the country lived in the earthquake zone.

Trading in the country’s stock market halted on Wednesday following Monday’s tremors.

The two institutions declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg on Friday.

UAE Aid Relief Airbridge (1:32 p.m.)

Emirates airline of the United Arab Emirates will establish an air bridge to transport urgent relief supplies, medical supplies and equipment in support of earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria, according to an emailed statement.

The first deliveries are due on Friday, consisting of high thermal blankets and family tents from various NGOs.

Criminal charges for Twitter blackout (10:51 a.m.)

The CHP filed a criminal complaint against senior government aides for restricting access to Twitter during critical hours of search and rescue efforts following two devastating earthquakes earlier this week.

The CHP’s complaint was directed at communications watchdog BTK, President Erdogan’s top adviser Fahrettin Altun and Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu. Although BTK did not specifically confirm the access restriction, it met with Twitter officials on Wednesday to warn against complying with local disinformation laws.

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PKK Stops Attacks on Turkish Targets (10:29 am)

Militants of the Kurdish separatist group PKK said they were halting “military actions” against Turkish forces following the earthquake, according to ANF, a website containing the group’s statements. The group is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

Turkey Asks Russia for Aid to Syria (9:40 a.m.)

Turkey is trying to get the green light from Russia to use new border crossings to deliver aid to earthquake survivors in north-west Syria, officials with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Ankara is in talks with Moscow to allow a flow of international supplies through Turkey’s Oncupinar and Cobanbey border crossings in Kilis province, in addition to an existing border crossing further west, officials said, asking not to be identified as negotiations are ongoing be underway.

US Sends $85 Million in Aid (3:18 a.m.)

The US will provide $85 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to Turkey and Syria, the US Agency for International Development said in a statement. According to the statement, US AID is providing emergency food and shelter for refugees and newly displaced people, winter supplies, essential health services, safe drinking water and sanitation.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu are discussing additional aid the US can provide in support of Turkey’s relief effort, according to a State Department announcement.

Emergency rule comes into effect (00:01)

A three-month state of emergency officially came into force in Turkey on Friday, allowing Erdogan to issue decrees, suspend or limit fundamental rights and freedoms, or take extraordinary security measures. Under the emergency regime, the government can prioritize public spending to repair damage inflicted on earthquake victims, or requisition money, property, or labor. It also allows authorities to draw on resources from financial institutions when public funds are unable to provide the funding needed to meet urgent and vital needs in a timely manner.

–Assisted by Beril Akman, Inci Ozbek, Taylan Bilgic, Dana Khraiche and Patrick Sykes.

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