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Open Letter to the Rulers of Turkey regarding the earthquake in Izmit


Just before dawn on Tuesday Jumada I (17/8/99), a violent earthquake struck in north west Turkey. Its epicentre was Izmit, and it measured 7.4 on the Richter scale. According to UN reports more than 40,000 have died, 33,000 injured and 200,000 made homeless.

We pray to Allah (swt) that He shelters the dead with His Mercy and Forgiveness and that He confers on the injured the prospect of good health and well-being. And also that He facilitates help and shelter for the displaced and inspires them with patience over this calamity.

Indeed, this earthquake was one of the signs of Allah (swt) which He sent to the people of Turkey and others to bring fear and to warn. So who is there that will take admonition?

There is a huge responsibility which, Firstly, falls on the shoulders of the ruling secular regime in Turkey, a responsibility the adherents of this regime cannot shirk. Secondly, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the people in Turkey, a responsibility they cannot evade. And Thirdly it falls on the shoulders of Muslims everywhere.

As for the responsibility of the regime, this regime knows that these areas are situated on an earthquake fault line. An earthquake occurred along this line measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale in 1912. Thereafter earthquakes occurred on this line in the years 1939, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1957, 1967 and 1992. So why was the regime unconcerned and didn’t prepare to face these expected disasters?

Officials of the secular regime said: ‘the earthquake was so big that the state was not able to eliminate its dangers’. This justification is of no value since we’ve observed that the state did not prepare for any earthquake, however great or small. Was it not within the capabilities of the regime to set down specifications and conditions for construction in these areas? And was it not possible to inspect buildings so as to be sure that building contractors were meeting building specifications and conditions? We have noticed that some old buildings (from the days of the 'Uthmani state) remained firm, while many modern buildings crumbled easily even though the technology since then has progressed greatly.

Were not the officials of the secular regime able to move immediately when the earthquake happened in order to provide help and first aid to the victims? Instead they continued to listen to the reports as if the disaster had occurred in another country! It was only after 17 hours that some of them met to see what they could do, leaving individuals to dig the debris and rubble with their bare hands. Eventually after two days they moved, but in an astonishingly chaotic manner. Army officials moved after four days, as if the problem had nothing to do with them, and were only concerned with their naval base that had been hit by the quake.

After five days had elapsed, some of the villages in Izmit which had been severely devastated by the earthquake, had still to receive any first aid or assistance. All as a result of the failure to have someone in charge who could organise and see which areas had been checked and which areas remained forgotten and neglected.

This is the Turkish regime and this is Turkish rule which boasts that it has made Turkey the most powerful nation in the Middle East. Yet, this earthquake has exposed the defects, emaciation and weakness of the regime. And also to expose that the regime is completely non-existent when the issue relates to looking after the affairs of people and coming to their aid. This secular regime prepares in force when it comes to suppressing the people, silencing them and imposing taxes. This secular regime flexes its muscles as a tool in the hands of the Jews: sometimes by threatening Syria and other times by striking the Kurds, entering Iraq, or threatening Iran.

The adherents of this secular regime are unable to help the people in their moment of hardship, yet they have the ability to ban the lawful Hijab of women that Allah has made obligatory. And they have the ability to expel a soldier from the army if he prays, disband parties which call for Islam and imprison those who speak about Islam.

As for the responsibility of the people in Turkey, it is incumbent on them to account the rulers and account the contractors, and take heed themselves that when a disaster does occur, it doesn’t only afflict the rulers, contractors, and oppressors. Rather it afflicts everyone. He (swt) said:

"And fear the trial which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong" [TMQ 8:25]

The Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked: "will we be destroyed while there are righteous people amongst us?" He replied: "Yes, when the evil becomes great".

The evil is not confined to the rulers colluding with the contractors in construction fraud, and nor is it confined to the rulers negligence of the interests and security of the people and failing to make the necessary preparations to rescue the people, or to provide them with first aid and shelter. Rather, it has gone beyond that, to the extent of fighting the people in their deen, with the state’s deen becoming secularism and not Islam. The ruling regime considers Turkey to be a part of secular Europe and not a part of the Islamic countries. Utmost respect has come to be for secularism, separation of religion from life, and Mustafa Kamal, and not for the Qur’an, Sunnah and Muhammad (saw). And friendship and dependency has come to be for the Jews of Israel, the enemy who fights the Muslims…

All of this is taking place while the Muslim people of Turkey are silent about those disbelieving rulers who destroyed the Khilafah and betrayed Allah, His Messenger, His deen and all Muslims. And even though Allah (swt) has obliged them to discard these secular Kafir rulers. So will these people not bear the responsibility of what afflicts them in this world due to the policy of those rulers, over whom they are silent? Yes indeed, for they shall bear a greater responsibility before Allah (swt) in the Hereafter as well.

As for the responsibility of Muslims everywhere, the Muslims are one Ummah. They are like one body which when one of its limbs hurts, the entire body responds to that part with sleeplessness and fever.

It is incumbent on the Muslims to help each other, not least when disasters occur, regardless of their lineage, language, colour or home. It is also incumbent on them to embark on assisting each other with money, food, housing, medicines, and all types of assistance.

Just as it is incumbent on all of them to work to destroy the systems of kufr which are implemented on them. And work to establish the Islamic state, the righteous Khilafah state which will apply the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger over them. And work to eliminate these emaciated entities by overthrowing their rulers and agents and bringing the people together under the entity of the Khilafah, and carry the Message of Islam to the rest of the world.

As for you - the secular rulers of Turkey - to whom we direct this open letter. We do not think that you deserve anything other then the warning directed to the likes of you by Allah (swt): "And soon will the unjust know what change in circumstance their affairs will take" [TMQ 26:227]

Hizb ut-Tahrir
13 Jumada I 1420