Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited tent cities and community leaders in Hatay province on Sunday. The area was struck especially hard by the February 6 earthquake.
The 7.8 magnitude quake and aftershocks killed over 46,000 people in Turkey and nearly 6,000 people in northern Syria. It also left hundreds of thousands of people across 11 provinces sheltering in tents or temporary accommodation.
Both Erdogan and his government have received severe criticism over their chaotic response to the natural disaster. His critics have accused them of failing to prepare the earthquake-prone country for a disaster in waiting.
Experts have pointed at lax enforcement of building codes as a major reason the earthquake was so deadly.
Turkish police have rounded up 269 suspects as part of a growing investigation into contractors who put up gleaming towers in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.
But some worry about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s close relations with the construction sector — and what bearing that might have on his government’s willingness to prosecute negligence.
This latest visit to the devastated province comes as Turkey is preparing for upcoming general elections in May. This year’s election may prove to be the toughest one yet for the country’s leader who has been in power for two decades.