The people of the Samandağ neighbourhood in Turkey’s southern Hatay province’s Antakya district rallied on Saturday to commemorate those they lost in the 6 February earthquakes.
People carried branches of basil in their hands during the commemoration organised on the 40th day of the disaster that massively destroyed the province.
According to the latest figures announced by Turkish officials, more that 48 thousand people lost their lives as a result of the powerful tremors in 10 of Turkey’s provinces.
Almost six thousand buildings collapsed in Hatay as a result of the seismic shock, while the province’s historical Antakya district, known to be home to a multi-ethnic/multi-religious population, has become unrecognisable.
In many religions, the 40th day after the loss of a loved one is observed with prayers and gatherings. In Turkey, on Saturday, the people of Antakya all observed the same day together.
“It has been exactly forty days since the Queen of the East put on her black mourning veil on her head. Forty days have passed since the darkness of lament fell upon us and forty days have passed since the sun rising on the darkness of the night have started failing in brightening the darkness of the mourning,” said Nehna, an organisation bringing together different communities in Antakya.
“It turns out, it is really difficult to mourn after a city, while we are living in our sorrow in that way… Do you remember we would find the dream of a lost loved one in a street she/he walked in the past; but what happens when we lose those streets too; in which city can you find the streets of your own,” it said.
“We are people who lived together with the legend of an old city. Now we have become ourselves the legend of an old city that will be told for generations and we will be the ones who will also build the new city where this legend will be told,” said Nehna.