“Although we have the largest search and rescue team in the world right now, it is a reality that search efforts are not as fast as we wanted them to be,” he said.
He also said looting of shops had taken place in some areas.
Erdogan is standing for re-election in a vote scheduled for May 14 and his opponents have seized upon the issue to attack him. The election may now be postponed due to the disaster.
With anger simmering over delays in the delivery of aid and getting the rescue effort underway, the disaster is likely to play into the election, if it goes ahead.
Erdogan, for whom the vote was his toughest challenge in two decades in power even before the earthquake, has called for solidarity and condemned what he has described as “negative campaigns for political interest”.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Turkey’s main opposition party, criticised the government response.
“The earthquake was huge, but what was much bigger than the earthquake was the lack of coordination, lack of planning and incompetence,” Kilicdaroglu said in a statement.
In Diyarbakir to the east, Sebahat Varli, 32, and her son Serhat were rescued and taken to hospital on Friday morning, 100 hours after the quake.
Across the border in Syria, rescuers from the White Helmets group used their hands to dig though plaster and cement until reaching the bare foot of a young girl, still wearing pink pajamas, grimy but alive and free.
But hopes were fading that many more would be found alive.
In the Syrian town of Jandaris, Naser al-Wakaa sobbed as he sat on the pile of rubble and twisted metal that had been his family’s home, burying his face in the baby clothes that had belonged to one of his children.
“Bilal, oh Bilal,” he wailed, shouting the name of one of his dead children.
The death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and several powerful aftershocks across both countries has surpassed the more than 17,000 killed in 1999 when a similarly powerful earthquake hit northwest Turkey.
It now ranks as the seventh most deadly natural disaster this century, ahead of Japan’s 2011 tremor and tsunami and approaching the 31,000 killed by a quake in neighbouring Iran in 2003.
The death toll in Turkey rose to 19,388 on Friday, Erdogan said. In Syria, more than 3,300 have been killed. Many more people remain under rubble.
Some 24.4 million people in Syria and Turkey have been affected, according to Turkish officials and the United Nations, in an area spanning roughly 450 km from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east. In Syria, people were killed as far south as Hama, 250 km from the epicentre.
Many people have set up shelters in supermarket car parks, mosques, roadsides or amid the ruins. Survivors are often desperate for food, water and heat.
The United Nations had pushed for aid to flow more freely into Syria, especially into the northwest, where it estimated more than 4 million people already needed before the quake.
Dozens of planeloads of aid have arrived in areas held by Assad’s government since Monday but little has reached the northwest.
On Friday, 14 trucks carrying humanitarian aid crossed into northern Syria from Turkey, the International Organisation for Migration in Geneva said. They carried electric heaters, tents, blankets and other items.
AP and Reuters
Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.