*updated on 17 March
In the early hours of Monday 6 February, while people were still asleep, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey near the Syrian border. The strong tremor at 4:17 local time, which was felt in Lebanon, Cyprus and Iraq, caused great destruction in ten provinces in Turkey’s south and east as well as in the northwest of Syria.
The confirmed death toll in Turkey has passed 48,000, while millions of people are left homeless and displaced. The deep humanitarian crisis may reshape the entire future of the country with its impacts on politics and the economy.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the Turkish government has been the target of the growing anger of the people. Since the search and rescue teams were very slow in reaching the disaster zone, many people who might have been saved had the teams arrived earlier died under the rubble, from the cold as well as from injuries and lack of food and water; for the survivors, the lack of tents in the freezing temperatures was a severe problem.
The earthquake hit a region of 13.5 million people, largely populated with ethnically Kurdish people and members of the Alevi faith. Many in the area claimed that there was obvious discrimination in the efforts of the state institutions to distribute humanitarian aid, and that the Turkish authorities have been trying to prevent people from organising themselves to deliver necessary aid to the earthquake survivors.
In addition, many believed that the Turkish government was responsible for the magnitude of the destruction, due to corruption in the construction sector and the infamous construction or “zoning” amnesties of the Turkish President, essentially legal exemptions allowing construction projects to proceed without fulfilling the necessary safety requirements. The latest was announced by the government in 2018.
Medya News continues to follow up daily on how this great calamity is unfolding. The most important incidents in the aftermath of the deadliest disaster in the country’s modern history are outlined below.
[see also: Earthquakes diary: Syria | In the aftermath of a disaster]
Monday, 6 February
At 04:28, about ten minutes after the mainshock, a 6.7 magnitude aftershock also hit the region. The extent of the destruction caused by the earthquake was revealed at around 08:00 when the governor of Malatya, a province close to the epicentre, announced that 140 buildings had collapsed in that city.
As the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced an emergency meeting held with governors of southern provinces towards noon, calls for help on social media began to multiply from several cities, especially from the southern province of Hatay, which was one of the worst-hit provinces in the disaster. Search and rescue teams had not yet reached the earthquake zone.
At 13:24 local time, a second major earthquake, this time with a magnitude of 7.7, shook the entire region once again, and most of the buildings that had been damaged in the first earthquake collapsed in the second.
The airports of Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep provinces were closed due to the damage. Hatay airport’s runway was split in half by the tremor. Dozens of cargo containers caught fire in İskenderun, Hatay’s main port.
Turkey declared seven days of mourning and issued a Level Four alert calling for international aid, which many countries had already started to send. A global effort was mobilised to support rescue efforts .
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) established a crisis coordination centre and released a list of essential needs on Twitter.
The Kurdistan Red Crescent Society (Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê) launched an aid campaign to meet the urgent needs of victims in the earthquake region.
The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) urged everyone to open their houses to those in need and advised Kurdish institutions to coordinate humanitarian aid efforts.
The tremors caused two state hospitals, the Latin Catholic Church built in 1871, the Antakya synagogue in Hatay and the stone blocks of the 2,200-year-old historical castle in Gaziantep to collapse. “Along with our historical Antakya Synagogue, 2500 years of Jewish life came to an end with this great pain,” the Turkish Jewish Community lamented the next day.
Tuesday, 7 February
The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria passed 5,000 after the first night of rescue efforts in the midst of continuing aftershocks.
Dozens of countries rushed to assist Turkey in responding. Rescue teams and humanitarian aid started arriving from abroad.
Several quake-hit regions were yet to receive any aid after utter devastation by the earthquakes. Citizens spent the night without electricity, and with no aid arriving, also with no food or shelter in conditions made even more difficult by the freezing cold.
A large group of people gathered inside the governor’s office in Turkey’s southeastern province of Adıyaman (Semsûr) to protest at the failing humanitarian aid and rescue efforts. Footage shared by several media outlets showed the governor, surrounded by his personnel, laughing as people shouted, “Adıyaman, left alone! Where is the aid?” while.
President Erdoğan declared a three-month state of emergency in the ten quake-hit provinces. The Turkish constitution allows the government to declare a state of emergency in the case of major disasters, giving state institutions the authority to restrict basic rights and freedoms and to limit entrance to the designated state of emergency areas.
Turkish prosecutors launched investigations into two journalists for “provoking public hatred and hostility in the public” over comments on the earthquakes.
Frustration, despair and tears dominated opposition television channels in Turkey, while pro-government outlets continued to mask the devastation of the public.
Wednesday, 8 February
The fact that no search and rescue team arrived in some regions, coupled with the lack of aid, drove survivors to despair and anger, while the further drop in temperatures made search and rescue efforts still more difficult as the critical 72-hour window for rescue efforts was closing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a Level Three Emergency and mobilised its assets.
Turkish President Erdoğan visited the earthquake region and admitted that there had been some problems with the initial response to the earthquakes on the Monday, however, he did not accept responsibility for the destruction despite criticisms of lack of preparation and of negligence, arguing that the state was well-prepared but this was such an unexpected and great disaster that it was impossible for any state to handle.
“The damage is done,” Erdoğan told an earthquake survivor during his visit. “These things are part of destiny’s plan.” The President also asked citizens to give his government a minimum of a year to complete rehousing plans.
The Governorate of Patnos district in Ağrı province seized a vehicle belonging to the HDP-run municipality, which was on its way to deliver aid to the affected region.
The Turkish authorities restricted access to Twitter and other social media services after a new platform, reporting what the government defines as ‘disinformation’ went into action on Tuesday. This restriction drew nationwide backlash as people under the rubble had been calling for help by sharing their locations using their mobile phones.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) Earthquake Department’s Twitter account was hacked. Hackers said people’s lives “should not have so little value” and pleaded with Turkish authorities to “do something about it.”
Turkey accepted the offer of aid from the Republic of Cyprus, reversing its earlier decision to refuse.
AFAD announced that unidentified bodies would be buried after 24 hours.
After visiting Kahramanmaraş, Erdoğan travelled to Hatay. The traffic density at the entrance of the city due to the arrival of the President caused delays in aid reaching the earthquake victims.
At least three prisoners were killed by Turkish soldiers in a prison riot that broke out in Hatay after inmates set several wards on fire, because they were unable to contact their families and had not been transferred to a safer location days after the devastating double earthquake completely razed a significant portion of the majority Arab and Kurdish province.
The vast majority of the earthquake survivors spent the night outside in the freezing cold in most regions of Turkey as tent aid was yet to arrive.
Thursday, 9 February
During his visit to Hatay, President Erdoğan said that those who criticised the poor extent of support provided by the government were “dishonest, inglorious” people.
Survivors and rescue workers complained that security measures implemented for Erdoğan’s visits, including GSM signal jammers, were impeding efforts.
The Turkish parliament voted into force a three-month State of Emergency for ten provinces affected by Monday’s devastating twin quakes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an estimated total of 20,000 casualties.
The HDP launched an earthquake fund and the party’s MPs donated their salaries to the cause.
Morgue capacities in quake-hit cities were exceeded in the earthquake zone, and bodies ‘were piling up’ as no mobile morgues or funeral vehicles were available to transport bodies.
As rescue efforts continued, a Turkish official told Reuters that parliamentary and presidential elections planned for May now may have to be postponed.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) declared an armistice due to the disaster. Leading PKK commander Cemil Bayık called on Kurdish military forces not to conduct any actions in Turkey and urged solidarity between Kurds and Turks.
Friday, 10 February
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) called for the identification and prosecution of those responsible for the destruction in the disaster area, including contractors of the collapsed buildings and officials who approved their projects without conducting inspections as required.
Turkish President admitted a delayed response to the earthquake in Adıyaman (Semsûr). “Unfortunately, it is a fact that we were unable to quickly deliver a response to earthquake victims,” Erdoğan said.
Several dead whales washed up on the north coast of Cyprus. An official from the Cyprus Department of Fisheries said that the whales probably died as a result of the earthquakes.
Saturday, 11 February
The death toll from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria surpassed predictions and exceeded 24,000; calls for aid intensified.
The border gate between Armenia and Turkey opened 35 years after closing, to deliver aid to the quake-hit provinces.
Erdoğan announced that all universities in Turkey would resume education online until the summer, in order to use student dormitories nationwide as temporary shelters for earthquake victims.
Earthquake survivors protested at the start of the debris removal operations in some regions, as the integrity of the dead was impaired during these operations. The burial of bodies in mass graves and the censorship victims’ comments in pro-government media outlets created further anger and frustration among the population.
Prosecutors in several provinces launched investigations into contractors held responsible for the construction of buildings that collapsed too easily during the earthquakes.
A former Turkey director of the World Bank called the earthquake destruction a political choice, pointing to construction amnesties. According to one of Turkey’s leading geoscientists Celal Şengör “zoning [construction] amnesty in an earthquake country is murder.”
Relief efforts to alleviate the pain of earthquake victims in Turkey led to an extraordinary moment in the country’s politics as the leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) made a joint declaration.
In the midst of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, news about Syrians looting shops or aid trucks in the region, many of which later proved to be false, exacerbated Turkish hostility towards Syrian refugees. Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of the HDP, said that the Turkish government had triggered racism and ethnic discrimination to legitimise the state of emergency.
The Austrian army and German rescue workers suspended their rescue operations in Turkey, citing a worsening security situation.
Turkey’s authorities started emptying university dormitories, while students were in shock. The president’s decision on online education until the summer created fury among civil society, with many saying that students, who have already suffered from closures due to Covid-19 pandemic, should not be paying the price of the earthquake and that halting an essential public service to provide means for another is inadvisable.
A man has lost his life after being arrested for theft by gendarmes in Turkey’s earthquake-hit southern province of Hatay. A preliminary medical report indicated he was severely tortured.
Sunday, 12 February
An American seismologist said that the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) had distorted her comments on the 6 February earthquakes to indicate that the government held no responsibility for the disaster. “The earthquake was inevitable, not the scale of the disaster,” said the seismologist. “The idea that a gov’t might misuse my words to push a misleading narrative is new and dismaying.”
Experts warned about the risk of epidemics in quake-hit regions. The women and children, who have been the most vulnerable group in the disaster area, were unable to obtain hygiene products, and medical doctors said this could be life-threatening.
Turkey’s popular YouTuber Oğuzhan Uğur, widely known as a nationalist, was targeted by media organisations close to the government after raising large amounts of funds for earthquake victims.
Monday, 13 February
Reports confirmed that many women were having problems accessing hygiene products and maternal health support, which could cause serious health problems and threaten many lives in areas affected by disaster.
Tuesday, 14 February
The death toll in Turkey rose to 35,418 and exceeded that of the 1939 Erzincan earthquake, which killed around 33,000 people, making 6 February earthquake the deadliest disaster in the country’s modern history.
Veteran journalist Faruk Bildirici wrote that some 17 journalists were killed by the earthquakes in Turkey, while reporters that survived in disaster areas did not have essential equipment and faced government attacks after pointing out failures of state institutions.
Sheltering crisis and waves of population movement in earthquake-struck regions of Turkey were exacerbated by spiking rent prices.
A debate over whether upcoming elections in Turkey would be held on time or postponed due to the 6 February earthquakes started to top Turkey’s political agenda, as the opposition voiced concern that the government would use the disaster to its advantage.
Public resentment against the Turkish government’s construction amnesties in 2018 threw light on the stance of the HDP MP Garo Paylan, who had opposed the amnesties from the outset. “Just think, you give amnesty to a 10-storey building. A hundred citizens live in this building. An earthquake happens and those citizens find themselves under the rubble. Who will take the responsibility for that? Millions of our citizens live in faulty buildings. This is not the crime of our citizens,” Paylan said when addressing the parliament in 2018.
There were multiple reports during the rescue efforts of AFAD teams turning up at the last minute, after other teams had finished almost all the work needed to reach victims under the rubble, and ejecting the other teams out of the area in order to appear on television and take the credit as heroes.
Wednesday, 15 February
More than two million earthquake survivors have left the region since the earthquakes which affected approximately 13.5 million people in ten provinces. For those who stayed in the region, where there were prevailing severe winter conditions, the problem of shelter continued.
The Turkish authorities in Pazarcık confiscated earthquake relief materials provided by the Crisis Coordination Centre of the pro-Kurdish opposition HDP together with local associations.
An unidentified group opened fire on aid trucks of an Alevi community in İstanbul, as the congregation prepared to deliver relief material to the earthquake victims in southeastern Turkey.
Thursday, 16 February
Turkey’s main opposition CHP MP Alpay Antmen shared a document showing that Erdoğan had abolished a previous finding of some “disaster risk areas” in Hatay. Erdoğan revoked the “disaster risk area” categorisation of six districts of Hatay on 4 February 2022, according to the document.
Alevi organisations and NGOs in the region affected by the devastating earthquakes called for dignified treatment of the mourners and the deceased. “There are still tens of thousands of people under the rubble, waiting to be taken out – dead or alive,” the NGOs said in a joint statement. “Rubble clearing has started in sites where rescue efforts continue, which has led to outrage among the mourning families and all of the public.”
Turkey continued military operations in Iraq despite the People’s Defence Forces (HPG) observing a ceasefire with Turkish troops in compliance with PKK commander Bayık’s call for armistice due to the earthquakes on 9 February.
Friday, 17 February
The HDP called for international scrutiny of the Turkish government’s hindrance to aid efforts after the authorities confiscated the party’s earthquake relief materials the previous day.
Thousands of Twitter users from Turkey used the #benidenotedin (#notemetoo) hashtag to show their outrage against a statement made by a senior member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “Since we are in the disaster region with our citizens, we have not been a part of political discussions. We are at the moment just noting what is said against our president and against us,” said Ömer Çelik, the spokesperson of the ruling AKP on 15 February.
Turkey’s General Directorate of Security initiated legal action against 377 people who shared ‘provocative’ posts regarding the earthquake on social media platforms.
The Turkish Bar Association announced that 99 lawyers had died due to the massive earthquakes on 6 February, while 10 lawyers are still missing.
As many families queued to adopt children who have been left orphaned due to the disaster, Turkey’s religious authority caused public outrage by announcing that Islam allows parents to marry adopted children.
Saturday, 18 February
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, in tears, said that they were prepared for an earthquake in Istanbul. “We apologise for dying in the wrong earthquake,” wrote Barış Atay, a Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) MP for the earthquake-stricken Hatay, in response to Soylu.
Sunday, 19 February
A scientific study by Boğaziçi University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute revealed that the first 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred with multiple refractions and lasted for 80 seconds.
The HDP released a video in response to Turkey’s ruling AKP spokesperson, who had said that they had been taking note of criticism levelled at the party and the president. “Note these cries too! Because this nation has noted your crimes, your unforgivable sins in a way that will never let them be forgotten. We will re-create life through solidarity,” the party said on Twitter, sharing a video with the tweet.
Monday, 20 February
The actual situation in the earthquake region was far worse than statements reflect, said the coordinating governor of Gaziantep’s heavily damaged Nurdağı district on Sunday: “Cities have been deleted from the map, there will be new maps.”
An Israeli rescue team recovered ancient Jewish scrolls from the rubble of Antakya Synagogue during its mission in Turkey’s earthquake-stricken Hatay province. The late-responding Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism was accused of indifference as the parchments were taken to Israel in the chaos, and later returned to the Jewish community in Turkey.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for “enduring solidarity” at an event held in memory of those who died in the earthquakes. The text of Steinmeier’s speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was shared on the official website of the German Presidency in Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic, as well as in English.
Six people were killed and 294 injured, 18 seriously, in Hatay after a fresh 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the region on 20 February at 20:04 local time. A number of buildings, already damaged by the powerful tremors two weeks ago, collapsed and several people were trapped under the rubble. Search and rescue efforts continued into the morning. Tent aid was still inadequate and there was still a lack of water and electricity in some districts in Hatay, and in other provinces affected by the 6 February earthquakes. Those who died or were injured in the latest earthquake had been forced to stay in their homes due to lack of temporary safe housing. Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum had said on 12 February that earthquake survivors could stay in their homes if they were found to be undamaged or slightly damaged.
Tuesday, 21 February
The Turkish government announced plans to start construction work as early as March to rehouse survivors, despite clear warnings from experts that the region would be continuously jolted by aftershocks, and that construction should therefore be held back for at least a year. Naci Görür, a prominent professor of geology, warned that pouring concrete was not safe as long as strong aftershocks continue. According to experts, a strong aftershock could seriously weaken recently poured concrete, damaging the structure of the building. In addition to the technical issues, the redesign of earthquake-hit cities and towns could raise cultural issues. The tremor-damaged region in Turkey was already coping with conflict over ethnic and religious identities. Many people of Kurdish descent and followers of the Alevi faith were wary that the government might try to use the earthquake as an opportunity to change the demographics of their ancestral lands.
The number of Syrians leaving Turkey and returning to their homeland passed 20,000 since the earthquakes hit the neighbouring countries. Turkey, home to four million Syrian refugees who had fled the civil war, witnessed an escalation in anti-Syrian sentiment after the earthquake.
Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of HDP, stated that he believes that a new situation has arisen in Turkey with the great disaster of 6 February, and called on the opposition parties to discuss a fresh attitude. “Politicians are now responsible for growing this spirit of solidarity and turning it into a political movement,” Demirtaş said.
Tap water supplied by Hatay’s water system was not safe for drinking, Turkey’s health minister announced.
International filmmakers called on the authorities to ensure that the necessary aid reaches survivors of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Wednesday, 22 February
Journalist Hayri Tunç’s observations of Turkey’s disaster area went viral on social media.
The HDP’s co-chair Pervin Buldan called for unified action to ‘erase the AKP from political arena’. “This country has no strength left to endure you even for a day, let alone for a year,” Buldan said in quake-stricken Hatay, referring to a repeated request made by President Erdoğan to the public after the earthquakes hit, to give him one year to complete the construction of new residential builds.
A group of Kurdish activists, the Botan Peace Mothers, called on Turkey to end its continued attacks against Kurdish-majority areas in Iraq and Syria in the wake of the disaster.
A.Haber, a news channel owned by a construction conglomerate that is closely allied with Erdoğan, came under fire for running videos from Adıyaman’s Kahta district, saying shops were open and life was back to normal, while the city and many of its districts and villages continued to suffer heavy losses and a lack of organisation in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
Thursday, 23 February
Following widespread protests on the Internet against the Turkish government over the delayed first response and insufficient aid support to Kurdish and Alevi populated districts, Turkey blocked access to several websites and social media posts criticising the government or focusing on the Kurdish issue.
Turkey’s Radio and Television High Council fined Turkish broadcasters critical of the country’s earthquake response. Halk TV, Tele 1 and Fox were penalised for reporting deficiencies in the Erdoğan government’s disaster management.
The pro-CHP Halk TV’s live broadcast of the “One rent, one home” campaign helped with rental support for quake survivors, reaching a total of 330 million TL ($17 million) to be provided to more than 30,000 families. Selahattin Demirtaş and his wife Başak Demirtaş contributed ten tents to the solidarity campaign. Demirtaş also called on all opposition blocs to unite saying, “Let’s rebuild this destroyed country. We have no other choice, we will succeed.”
Friday, 24 February
Lack of hygiene materials and potable water in earthquake-affected cities in Turkey has started to cause diseases such as scabies and diarrhoea.
Preliminary reports estimated that the 6 February earthquakes would cost the Turkish economy more than $50 billion, while inflation would remain above 40 percent as the country heads towards elections.
Amnesty International released a report detailing human rights violations by both the Syrian and the Turkish authorities in the aftermath of the disaster. Amnesty called on the Syrian and Turkish governments as well as armed opposition groups to immediately cease attacks in the region.
The European Kurdish Women’s Movement (TJK-E) called for mass demonstrations in European cities against the Turkish government on 25 February, because of its role in the devastating impacts of the earthquakes.
Experts warned that Turkey will face serious environmental problems, especially in the soil, wetlands, streams, and rivers unless the rubble waste generated after the earthquakes is managed properly.
Meral Akşener, leader of the opposition İYİ Party in Turkey, argued that AFAD did not send enough aid to the earthquake zone because materials in its inventory had already been sent to Syria.
Saturday, 25 February
Ökkeş Kavak, ruling AKP mayor of the Nurdağı district in Turkey’s Gaziantep (Dilok) province, was arrested and sent to prison based on an investigation into collapsed buildings in the district.
It was revealed that the HDP’s previous parliamentary motions on a budget for expected future earthquakes had been rejected in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly by the government in 2020, 2021 and 2022. “Our citizens live in coffin-like houses, you cannot save our citizens from these houses without enough budget,” HDP MP Garo Paylan said in his speech dated 2020.
“Government resign” slogans rang out over the stands of Fenerbahçe, one of Turkey’s three top-tier teams, during a national Super League match with Konyaspor. The fury against the government’s failure to provide disaster relief demonstrated itself before the match began, with some Fenerbahçe fans throwing their hats and scarves onto the pitch, shouting: “Don’t feel the cold Turkey, Fenerbahçe is with you.”
Sunday, 26 February
A scandal over the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) selling disaster tents to a charity on the third day after the 6 February twin earthquakes has rocked Turkey over the weekend. The scandal broke out when journalist Murat Ağırel reported that the Kızılay had sold tents to Ahbap, a charity run by musician Haluk Levent, for 46 million TL ($2.5 million) on the third day that after the seismic shock.
Beşiktaş fans chanted “Government resign!” before kick-off in their club’s match against Antalyaspor. The police intervened and arrested a number of fans in the stadium for protesting against the government. The arrests only led to the volume of chanting in the stadium increasing. Then, thousands of Beşiktaş fans started throwing stuffed toys onto the pitch to donate to children impacted by the earthquake after the game stopped four minutes and 17 seconds into the match. The earthquake had first struck Turkey at 04:17 local time.
Turkish government’s far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) announced that its leader Devlet Bahçeli had resigned from Beşiktaş football club, following the fans’ protests against the government over its post-earthquake failures in disaster relief.
The Turkish police attacked members of the Turkey Workers’ Party (TİP) and made at least 100 arrests at a rally in İstanbul held to protest against the Red Crescent’s sale of tent stock to an earthquake relief charity. The police also surrounded the party’s Kadıköy headquarters, which has been used as a coordination centre for the distribution of humanitarian aid to southern Turkey hit by powerful twin earthquakes on 6 February and continued high-magnitude aftershocks.
Monday, 27 February
An earthquake struck Turkey’s eastern province of Malatya at 12:04 local time, causing new buildings to collapse. The magnitude of the tremor was measured as 5.5 by the Kandilli Observatory in İstanbul. One person died and 69 others injured.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan caused an angry backlash after he asked for blessing from residents of the Adıyaman. Many on social media, including earthquake survivors that posted photos of lost loved ones, used the hashtag #helaletmiyorum [#Idonotgivemyblessing] in response to Erdoğan.
Turkey’s earthquake region is now at risk of extreme drought. In the Kozan district of Adana, the water level in the dam has dropped to 28.1%, while the occupancy rate (the percentage of the total volume filled) in Istanbul’s dams has fallen to just over 35% due to lack of sufficient rainfall in the last three months.
Following his visit to earthquake-stricken Hatay, the head of the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) said he had seen “incomprehensible” devastation and an “apocalyptic” landscape. WFP chief David Beasley said the historically multi-ethnic and multi-religious provincial capital Antakya had become “almost a ghost town”, with homes, schools, shops and critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed.
The trauma of the disaster would have a deep psychological impact on survivors, while children were at particular risk of developing anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, experts told Reuters.
Alaattin Çakıcı, a leading figure in the Turkish mafia, threatened football fans who, shouting from the stands at matches over the weekend, had dared to call on the government to resign over an inadequate earthquake disaster response.
Nehna, a discussion platform for Turkey’s Orthodox-Christian community, called for financial support to rebuild churches in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay heavily damaged after the 6 February earthquakes.
Tuesday, 28 February
The Turkish government was absent from the worst-hit province of Hatay for several days after the earthquakes, said pro-Kurdish HDP MP Tülay Hatimoğulları Oruç in an angry speech in parliament. “I was there from the early hours. For two days in some regions, three days in others, the state was absent,” she said, addressing MPs from the ruling AKP and its ally MHP. “None of you were there.”
Defence Minister Hulusi Akar dismissed criticisms regarding the Turkish army’s insufficient disaster relief efforts in earthquake-hit areas, and argued the military must be deployed to protect the country’s borders. “Who is going to protect the borders, who is going to stay in Syria? Are we supposed to empty Syria? Are we supposed to empty Iraq? The intentions of those blind, who do not want to see, those deaf, who do not want to hear, and our problems, are different,” Akar said.
Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the government’s far-right ally MHP, berated earthquake survivors during his visit to the disaster zone with President Erdoğan. “You have no right to sabotage the visit of our president and other officials with such slogans on a day of our suffering. There will be silence!” said Bahçeli. Then he added pointing to the group shouting slogans, “Disperse them all! Away with them!”
A newly released audio shared by Serbestiyet news site shows dozens of people died under the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Adıyaman, as professional rescue crews were late to respond to the earthquakes.
KCK co-chair Besê Hozat warned residents in the earthquake-stricken region against potential governmental attempts to use the disaster as an instrument to clear the region of Kurds and Alevis.
Wednesday, 1 March
The identities of 1,830 of the children rescued from the rubble were determined while the identities of 81 of them are not known yet, the Ministry of Family and Social Services announced.
Forensic scientists revealed that around ten percent of earthquake victims in Hatay’s Antakya district have been buried without being identified, as the death toll from the 6 February earthquakes surpasses 45,000 in Turkey with many people still missing in the disaster zone.
The children who are still missing from the earthquake-hit areas are most likely unidentified children who are being treated in hospitals under the supervision of the ministry, Turkish Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanık said over recent claims that unaccompanied children in the earthquake area were kidnapped by sects.
Friday, 3 March
The Hatay Governor’s Office ordered the evacuation of civilian groups from Sevgi Park, which has been serving as a headquarters for NGOs and left-wing organisations to coordinate and distribute aid.
Access to clean drinking water continues to be a severe problem in Turkey’s quake-hit southern province of Hatay. The hashtag #HataydaSuYok (NoWaterinHatay) moved to the top of the country’s trending Twitter topics. Similar reports came from Adıyaman (Semsûr) and Kahramanmaraş (Mereş).
Saturday, 4 March
Following the earthquakes, 17 people were tortured and ill-treated, and one person died, according to a report by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey.
The risk of cholera looms large as Turkey’s quake-hit southern provinces struggle to access safe drinking water in the aftermath of the disaster, according to the Turkish Medical Association.
Women’s groups in Turkey have sent aid and solidarity cards to those affected by the earthquake as part of activities for International Women’s Day.
Sunday, 5 March
Colleagues of a chief of police noticed that he was stealing from humanitarian aid being sent for earthquake victims, and lodged an official complaint. Surveillance recordings showed the police chief carrying large amounts of things like heating appliances, pet food and period products into his home.
A six-story building seriously weakened in the earthquakes collapsed in Turkey’s southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, injuring citizens who were nearby at the time of the incident.
Monday, 6 March
The HDP shared a video on social media, painting a picture of all that has happened in Turkey in the month since the 6 February earthquakes.
According to latest figures, around 3.3 million people have left the earthquake-affected zone and moved to other parts of Turkey.
Thursday, 9 March
The Diyarbakır branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) decided to apply to the public prosecutor to start a criminal investigation against the Turkish authorities for their late response to the earthquakes.
Friday, 10 March
Mahmut Çuhadar resigned from his post as the governor of Turkey’s southeastern Adıyaman (Semsûr) province, citing health reasons. The governor had recently come under fire for the insufficient response to the disaster. In one incident, Çuhadar was caught on camera smiling in the face of citizens protesting the lack of rescue operations and disaster relief.
Saturday, 11 March
A total of 1,706,000 buildings have been inspected since the earthquakes and that 821,302 independent units have been severely damaged and required immediate demolition.
According to the Turkish Interior Minister, the number of people reported missing from the earthquake area after the disaster is 264, including children. MPs from Turkey’s main opposition CHP announced that 39 children under the age of 18 were missing, and that 34 of those were under 15.
AFAD told earthquake survivors to vacate tourism facilities they are using as shelters, from 31 March and at the latest 15 April, saying that the owners of those facilities have to start preparations for the summer season.
Monday, 13 March
The death toll from the disaster continues to rise, with Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu confirming that 48,448 people had died in Turkey, including 6,660 foreign nationals, mostly Syrians.
The UN has criticised the slow aid response to survivors in Turkey and Syria and has called for greater assistance for survivors. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, stated that the focus needs to be on immediate assistance as well as long-term rebuilding projects.
Tuesday, 14 March
Heavy rain overwhelmed the infrastructure in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast, causing floods that have claimed 10 lives in Adıyaman and Şanlıurfa. Both provinces have already been devastated by the massive earthquakes.
Wednesday, 15 March
The governor of the earthquake-stricken province of Hatay resigned in order to put himself forward as an MP with the ruling AKP, while demands for accountability remain unanswered.
A women-led aid initiative in Turkey’s quake-hit southern province of Hatay providing shelter, nutrition, hygiene and toy support to women and children have been removed from the area following a request by AFAD.
The earthquake survivors hit by a second calamity expressed their anger and frustration after floods claim 15 lives in Turkey’s southeastern Kurdish provinces.
Thursday, 16 March
As the death toll from the recent devastating floods in Turkey’s quake-hit southeastern provinces rises to 18, the Agriculture and Forestry Minister’s comments on the positive aspects of the precipitation that caused floods and loss of life received backlash. “Yes, the floods took 15 lives, but the soil got water,” said the Minister.
Friday, 17 March
The 40th-day mourning ceremonies were held in several cities of Turkey for those who lost their lives in the devastating disaster.
The HDP released a video on its social media account emphasising the incompetence of the government after the earthquake, with a note, “It’s been #40 days. We couldn’t mourn. You will be held to account.”
#40 gün oldu. Yasımızı tutamadık. Hesap vereceksiniz. pic.twitter.com/vlt5Es7tmp
— HDP (@HDPgenelmerkezi) March 17, 2023