On the first anniversary of the February earthquakes in Turkey, numerous families are still searching for their missing loved ones, contrary to the assurances of the Family and Social Services Minister Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş that no children are missing.
Speaking to ANKA on Friday, Şengül Kılçık, who mourns the loss of her daughter and grandchild in the calamity, stated “I’ve lost all hope for the living, but I long for a gravestone to grieve”. A mother from Malatya, grieving for her son Uğur Gezer, added, “I single-handedly raised four children, facing every hardship. At the very least, they merit a grave.”
Families convened in Ankara to protest and express their discontent with the rejection by the ruling coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of an opposition motion to establish an investigative commission. Many continue their search through gravesites, hospitals and social media for any sign of their relatives.
“The anniversary approaches, and yet, there’s no trace of my son, alive or dead. We monitored the rubble for a month and a half, but found nothing of his,” lamented a mother about her 34-year-old son.
Fadime Gökçe, in her relentless search for her daughter Fikriye Aybüke Körük, who was trapped in the quake in Kahramanmaraş (Mereş), revealed, “I discovered her hospital record but not her. I urge the establishment of a unit specifically for the missing. I believe my daughter was rescued, as her photograph on a stretcher indicates.”
The call for a dedicated commission to find the missing resonates among the families, who face a cycle of hope and despair with each new lead. Bulut Özgül, searching for his daughter and wife, has left no stone unturned, from hospitals to shelters across cities, convinced of his daughter’s survival.