Turkey’s President says his country will never forget earthquake response
Eight days after an earthquake with the strength of 500 atom bombs devastated his nation, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the global response as a show of international solidarity in uncertain times.
Described as the biggest natural disaster in Turkey’s history — and one of the most catastrophic of recent times — Mr Erdogan quoted 13th century poet Meviana Rumi and said: “There is hope after despair and there will be many suns after darkness.”
As the rubble of destroyed buildings is cleared and survivors continue to be pulled from the twisted metal and concrete, Mr Erdogan — in a pre-recorded message relayed to the World Government Summit in Dubai — thanked search and rescue teams that had flown in to aid recovery work.
As the Turkish state, together with our nation, we will quickly heal the wounds caused by this disaster
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President
“On the one hand, we are performing search and rescue, and rubble removal operations while on the other, we are accelerating the installation of tents, containers and prefabricated houses.
“Inshallah, we will soon begin reconstructing and recovering our shattered cites. As the Turkish state, together with our nation, we will quickly heal the wounds caused by this disaster.
“During the process we have received support and condolence messages from more than 100 countries, including the UAE.
“Countries have demonstrated their solidarity with [Turkey] by calling personally, dispatching rescue teams and organising aid campaigns.
“I would like to thank, once again, all the friendly and brotherly countries who have been collecting aid for our nation day and night, supporting our search and rescue efforts with their teams and keeping us in their prayers.”
The majority of the more than 81,000 injured quake survivors have been discharged from hospitals, while some continue to be treated.
Search and rescue teams in the worst hit areas have rescued more than 8,000 people from the rubble.
After the 7.8-magnitude quake struck in the early hours of Monday, February 6, Turkey mobilised all state and national resources to the disaster zone and declared a level four alarm.
In his address to the summit, Mr Erdogan said Turkey would rebuild.
“This disaster once again demonstrated the importance of International solidarity,” he said.
“Our world is facing a multitude of challenges, including natural disasters, climate change, migration and warfare.
“Disruptions in the supply chain, natural disasters induced by climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, the food and energy crisis and rising global inflation all pose challenges to the global economy and development initiatives.
“In this current equation, Turkey and the Gulf countries form the central axis for our region’s security, stability, prosperity and economic integration.
“We always say that our own stability and security are inextricably linked to the stability and secure of the Gulf region.”
Earlier in the day, Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organisation’s emergencies programme told the World Government Summit that investment in communities would become more important in the future to protect them from other potential disasters.
“I have spent the last few days in Syria and what was re-enforced to me was the courage shown in the face of crisis,” he said.
“Yes, we need innovation and to build infrastructure but the people pulled from buildings were done so by their families, their sons and daughters, as were the surgeons and nurses treating the wounded in their local communities.
“We must remember that emergencies begin and end in our communities.
“There are only two things we need to do in a crisis: We protect communities and we provide safe, scalable clinical care.”