Displaced quake survivors seek help to vote

Displaced quake survivors seek help to vote

Aysel Alp - ANKARA
Displaced quake survivors seek help to vote

Around 12,000 displaced earthquake victims are waiting for help in the campaign launched in a bid to assist survivors return to their hometowns for the May 14 ballot.

A donation of around 5.5 million Turkish Liras is needed for the transportation of 12,000 quake survivors, said Ertim Orkun, the head of the Vote and Beyond Association, a civil movement mobilized to promote participative democracy in Türkiye.

“We invite all our volunteers who want to contribute to the ‘democracy feast’ to donate tickets,” Orkun called out to citizens on behalf of the association, one of the stakeholders of the campaign.

In the campaign implemented under the name of “suspended tickets,” donors can present bus tickets that will take earthquake victims to the provinces where their addresses are registered.

Survivors can appeal for ticket aid from the website launched for the campaign, while volunteers can donate a minimum of 250 liras.

Türkiye will be heading to the polls on May 14 to elect the next president and lawmakers, barely three months after the devastating earthquakes that left more than 50,000 people dead and millions homeless in the country’s south.

Around one third of the 3 million people displaced by the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes are expected not to be able to vote, indicating a possible weak turnout from the region.

Around 200,000 survivors in Hatay, where almost all residents have had to leave the city center, will not be able to vote after failing to register by the March deadline, while 150,000 will be voting in other cities, mayor Lütfü Savaş said last month.

The airport of the city, meanwhile, suspended regular flights last month due to damage that led to the shortening of the runway and put take-off and landing at risk.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) has launched another campaign encouraging survivors to travel to their homelands to cast their votes.

The main opposition party is offering to transport quake victims for free using rented buses, but also urges the government to increase the number of flights or trains to facilitate travel.

The 11 quake-hit provinces will elect 96 deputies, with the number of lawmakers determined by the size of the population.