Devastating Earthquake Hits Turkey, Leaving Death and Destruction Behind

February 6, 2023

The latest earthquake is the most devastating one that Turkey has experienced since the 1990s.
A strong 7,7 magnitude earthquake hit Southern Turkey on February 6, 2023, leaving 1042 dead. Photo by Anadolu Images.


devastating 7.7 Richter scale earthquake hit Southern Turkey in the early hours of the morning of February 6, leaving behind 1,121 dead and 7,634 injured until 6.00PM (Turkey Time) today. According to Turkish sources, 2,834 buildings collapsed, leaving thousands of people in the streets in cold weather conditions.

The earthquake was felt in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Iraq and Cyprus. According to Syrian sources, 710 people were killed in the earthquake where rescue teams with poor equipment are racing against time to save those trapped under rubble.

Syrian regime-affiliated media sources have stated that 326 people were killed, and 1,042 others were injured in areas under its control.

In Turkey, 900 rescue teams rushed to the cities impacted by the earthquake. Ten cities in Southern Turkey have reported serious damages including the collapse of whole residential buildings.

AFAD, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, said the earthquake is the most devastating one the country has experienced since the 1990s.

What makes this earthquake destructive in addition to its magnitude is its duration, with local sources reporting that it lasted for some 90 seconds, causing extensive destruction.

Another earthquake hit Southern Turkey’s Kahramanmaraş around noon time on the same day, with a magnitude of 7.5 Richter scale, spreading fear that more aftershocks might follow.

A Turkish woman walks by a destroyed building following a strong earthquake that hit Southern Turkey on February 6, 2023. Photo by Anadolu Images.

Fahrettin Koca, Minister of Health of Turkey, said Turkish medical teams are working in 81 different districts that were impacted by the devastating earthquake.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu noted that ten cities were impacted by the earthquake: Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir, and Kilis.

International solidarity with Turkey

The Turkish Ministry of Interior announced a state of emergency. The minister called for international assistance and gave priority to rescuing people under the collapsed buildings.

The Emir of Qatar expressed his country’s solidarity with Turkey in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “We are following the tragic events in Turkey and Syria and express out solidarity with the two brotherly countries.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris is willing to send aid to Turkey to overcome the impact of the earthquake.

Iran expressed its willingness to send aid, including rescue teams, to Turkey and Syria. Russia announced it also is willing to send aid and rescue teams to Turkey and Syria.

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, stated, “Full solidarity with our ally Turkey in the aftermath of this terrible earthquake … NATO Allies are mobilizing support now.”

China announced it is going to send aid to Turkey and Syria.

The United Nations expressed its solidarity with the victims of the earthquake, noting that it is focusing now on response efforts to provide aid to those impacted by it.

Turkish teams work on the ground

The Turkish Ministry of Defence announced it has established an aerial bridge to send needed aid to the people impacted by the earthquake. The ministry announced it has established a center to coordinate the aid sent to AFAD, which is in charge of delivering aid to people on the ground. Turkey’s Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar has arrived at the impacted area, along with officials from his ministry.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a Turkish NGO active in helping those impacted by disasters, said it has 500 trained people on the ground from 40 different cities across Turkey to help with the rescue efforts.

Gaziantep Castle and Hatay Airport damaged

The 2,200-year-old Gaziantep Castle was reported to have suffered severe damages as a result of the earthquake. Additionally, the landing tarmac at Hatay Airport was reported to be damaged. Videos posted on social media show entire residential buildings collapsing following shock waves that hit the area from the impact of the earthquake.

The February 6 earthquake has brought back painful memories to the Turkish people of the devastating earthquake that hit the country on August 17, 1999, leaving 17,172 people dead.

Politics Today is dedicated to publishing insightful analyses in order to understand the changing nature of contemporary politics. It aims to contribute to the sound and constructive discussion of international affairs.