Impossible to prepare for such a massive disaster: Erdogan, death toll crosses 15, 000text_fields
Ankara: Amid the steadily rising toll in Monday's devastating earthquake and grown dismay over the government's response, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said that it was "not possible to be prepared for a disaster this big", but now the situation was under control, media reports said.
Visiting Hatay, one of the region's hardest hit by the earthquake, he told reporters the official death toll had climbed to 9,057, the BBC reported.
Defending his government's response, he hit at those claiming they had not seen any security or rescue personnel.
"This is a time for unity, solidarity. In a period like this, I cannot stomach people conducting negative campaigns for political interest," he added.
Visiting the badly-impacted city of Kahramanmaras, he told residents that the rescue effort was now "under control" and "getting easier", blaming initial delays to the government response on damaged roads and airports hampering the delivery of emergency aid.
Amid criticism from opposition figures and on the ground, Turkey is said to restricted access to Twitter, the BBC reported, citing internet monitoring service NetBlocks.
NetBlocks tweeted that real-time network data showed a restriction of the social media site across numerous major internet providers.
As per the latest reports coming in, the death toll from the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday has crossed 15,000 leaving 12, 391 people dead in Turkey and 2, 992, in Syria, bringing the total to 15, 383.
In one of the deadliest earthquakes worldwide in more than a decade, the rescue teams have been braving freezing temperatures in both countries to dig out survivors as well as dead bodies from the rubble.
Many countries including the US, China and India have pledged support and Erdogan had declared a three-month emergency in the country.