Turkey will never forget the friendship and support extended by the international community after last week’s devastating earthquakes centered in the country’s southern provinces, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
“I would like to thank once again in your presence 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,” Erdogan said in a video message sent to the World Government Summit 2023 hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
“We will never forget the friendship you extended to us during this difficult time,” he added.
Turkey has received messages of solidarity from more than 100 states, the president said, adding “the disaster once again demonstrated the importance of international solidarity.”
Turkey was hit by two massive earthquakes respectively measuring 7.7- and 7.6-magnitude on Feb. 6. The tremors affected a 500-kilometer-wide region in 10 Turkish provinces that is home to 13.5 million people, according to the Turkish president.
“Together with the adjacent cities where the tremors were felt, the disaster has affected up to 20 million people,” said Erdogan.
“According to scientists, the energy released by these earthquakes is as powerful as 500 atomic bombs. We are witnessing not just one of the biggest natural disasters in our country’s history, but also all of humankind,” he said.
The Turkish government has accelerated the installation of tents, containers and prefabricated houses for quake survivors, while search and rescue operations, along with debris removal work, are underway, Erdogan said, adding that rescue teams have pulled out over 8,000 people alive from the rubble. ■