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Erdogan: Postponing enrollment in compulsory military service... and reconstruction within weeks

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan President of Türkiye

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced today, Saturday, that his country will begin reconstruction operations in the areas affected by the catastrophic earthquake after weeks, stressing that "hundreds of thousands of buildings have become uninhabitable as a result of the earthquake in Turkey."

Erdogan said in a press conference today, Saturday: "We decided to postpone many procedures for some months, including joining the compulsory military service."

He revealed that the death toll from the earthquake in Turkey had risen to 21,043, stressing that "14 million citizens were affected by the earthquake that occurred last Monday."

He added that the number of those affected by the earthquake in the affected areas and their surroundings may reach 20 million citizens, noting that rescue and search operations have ended in some affected cities and areas.

Turkey earthquake

The death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Monday has risen to more than 24,000. The number of deaths in Turkey has exceeded 20,665, while the number in Syria has risen to more than 3,500.

This comes at a time when rescue teams are still finding survivors more than five days after the earthquake. Rescue workers in Turkey succeeded in pulling out two women alive from under the rubble of dilapidated buildings after they had stayed there for 122 hours, according to what the Turkish authorities announced.

Pictures broadcast by the official Turkish Anadolu Agency showed the recovery of a 70-year-old woman named Menci Tabak in Kahramanmaraş province, where the rescuers wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to an ambulance that was waiting.

The agency said that the second rescued woman, Masala Cicek, 55, was pulled out with injuries from a dilapidated building in Diyarbakir, the largest city in southern Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish politician and economist who has been the 12th and current President of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001, and led it to victory in elections in 2002, 2007 and 2011 before being elected president in 2014. Coming from an Islamic political background and as someone who describes himself as a conservative democrat, he promoted economic liberal policies and social conservative policies.

Erdoğan played football for Kasim Pasha Club before he was elected in 1994 as mayor of Istanbul, affiliated with the Islamic Welfare Party. He was stripped of his position and imprisoned for four months for a poem he had recited in which he was accused of inciting religious hatred. Erdoğan abandoned overtly Islamist politics and established the moderately conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. Following the AKP's landslide victory in 2002, the party's co-founder Abdullah Gul became prime minister, until his government overturned Erdoğan's ban from political office. Erdogan became prime minister in March 2003.

The early years of Erdogan's presidency saw progress in negotiations for Turkey's accession to the European Union, an economic recovery after the 2001 financial crisis and investments in infrastructure including roads, airports and a high-speed rail network. He also managed to pass two successful constitutional referendums in 2007 and 2010. However, his government remained controversial for its close relations (which later worsened) with Fethullah Gulen and his group, which along with the AKP were accused by the foreign press of masterminding the elimination of secular bureaucrats and military officers through the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon trials. In late 2012, his government began peace negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to end the ongoing Turkish-Kurdish conflict that began in 1978. A ceasefire collapsed in 2015, leading to a renewed escalation in the conflict. Erdogan's foreign policy has been described as neo-Ottoman and included attempts to prevent the PYD forces and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from making advances in the Turkish-Syrian border areas during the Syrian Civil War.

The American organization "Freedom House" accused Erdogan's government of democratic setback and corruption in subsequent years. Beginning with anti-government protests in 2013, the foreign press has accused his government of increasing censorship of the press and social media and has imposed temporary bans on sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia. This caused the negotiations on Turkey's accession to the European Union to stall. A corruption scandal in 2013 led to the arrest of some of Erdogan's close allies. A failed military coup attempt in July 2016 led to further purges and the declaration of a state of emergency. The government claimed that the coup leaders were connected to Gülen, and Erdoğan proceeded to eliminate Gülen supporters from judicial, bureaucratic, and military positions.

As a longtime supporter of changing Turkey's parliamentary system of government to an executive presidential one, Erdogan formed an alliance with the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to create an executive presidency in 2017, and accepted those changes in a constitutional referendum. The new system of government officially began after the 2018 general elections, in which Erdoğan and the new AKP-MHP popular coalition were re-elected. Since then, Erdogan has continued to try to fix Turkey's currency and debt crisis of 2018, but some have also accused him of contributing to it.

President Erdogan ranked first among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2019.


journalist since 2011, member of the Journalists Syndicate, graduate of the University of Montreal, Journalism and News Editing Division, media advisor, He writes about health, skin care and relaxation.