Tag Archives: Earthquake in Turkey

Turkish Independence Day


Today is Turkish Independence Day (29 Ekim Cumhuriyet Bayramı). While the land of Turkey is rich in history and tradition, the modern Turkish republic is very young. Modern Turkey was founded on October 29th, 1923. Today marks the nation’s 88th birthday.

 In honor of this holiday, large and small Turkish flags hang from the windows of most apartment and office buildings. Most schools open their doors for special celebrations (my school had a special assembly yesterday). Normally, this is a lively celebration that can be observed throughout the country. However, due to the recent earthquake, the marches, firework shows and other city-sponsored events have been cancelled to allow the country to mourn the loss of life in the Van region, following the earthquake. The bliss and excitement that usually accompanies this holiday has been replaced by a silent melancholy throughout Istanbul.

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A Letter from Internations


Internations is a fabulous international organization that brings together globally minded expats and Turkish citizens to network and socialize at monthly events throughout the city.

In response to the recent earthquake, the following message was sent to members of the Istanbul chapter. It contains information about how to support aid and relief efforts. For those of you that are closely following from afar, it provides insight to the domestic aid and support that was quickly arranges, and also provides a website where you can safely donate money to relief efforts [http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/turkey-earthquake-relief-and-recovery-fund/]. For those of you in the country, it provides useful information about how to support the aid efforts in your local community.

Subject: Tragic Earthquake in Turkey

Dear Members of the Istanbul Community,

We are shocked about the tragic earthquake that struck eastern Turkey near the city of Van yesterday with a destructive magnitude of 7.2. Extensive areas sustained heavy damage to their structures, and as many as 1,000 people are feared dead.

We would like to send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the people in and around Van,
our thoughts and prayers are with them and with all of you whose families and friends suffer from it.

Aid centers are established at various locations in Istanbul to collect supplies to be sent to the area. Kadıköy and Şişli municipality buildings as well as Optimum Shopping Mall in the Anatolian side of Istanbul are among these centers. 

If you would like to help the earthquake victims and donate money, blankets, clothes, food or blood please find information below which has been kindly accumulated by our members Vildan Yahni, Figen Bico and Sevtap Kaya. Thank you very much for providing this information:

If you would like to make personal donations,  such as warm clothing, blankets, socks, shoes, boots, etc…and/or food like pre-cooked canned goods.

You can send these goods

1) via the Municipality of Şişli (Tel: 212 288 75 76) – a truck will be departing at 6:00pm tonight to deliver these goods.

2)via the Municipality of Sariyer (Tel: 212 271 1011-12)

3) Also, you can send your care packages via the following courier companies for free, however please call first to check if your nearest branch is accepting free packages:

MNG Kargo
Yurtiçi Kargo
Aras Kargo

You can also donate funds to the Van earthquake victims in writing “Van” to 2868 with your cell phone. 5 TL will be donated to the Red Cross Turkey (Kızılay) (www.kizilay.org.tr)

You can also send a message to AKUT at 2930 – the terms are the same – 5 TL for each message sent.(www.akut.org.tr)

Money can also be donated via this site:
Global Giving – Turkey Earthquake Relief Fund

You can donate blood today at all three campuses of Bilgi University.

Please follow the discussions in our Istanbul Forum where updates will be added.

Sincerely yours,

Gundula and Metin
InterNations Istanbul Ambassadors

Information about Van


While the pictures and images of the earthquake replay over and over again, information about the province of Van is lacking in some mainstream news reports.  The news refers to the area hit as Van. Van is both the name of a large city, as well as the informal county. In Turkey there are over 70 counties or regions that are named after the largest city in the region. The city of Ercis, a small city near Van and a part of the Van region experienced more damage than the city of Van itself. The region of Van is a beautiful and historical area in the southeast region of modern Turkey. It rests along the eastern shore of Lake Van, and is surrounded by large mountains. The ruins of several different civillizations can be found in the area. The land of Van once rested at the heart of the Urartian Kingdom and the Kingdom of Armenia.

Van is referred to as “The Pearl of the East” because of the natural beauty that surrounds the city . There is an old Armenian proverb that states “Van in this world, paradise in the next.”  The city historically had a large Armenian population. While the Armenian community was tragically wiped out, Armenian churches and schools remain within the old city.

Van is located in a county with a Kurdish majority, a notable factor in understanding the population and politics of the area. It is a conservative region of the country.  In this part of Turkey, families are traditional, and more women are bound to the domestic sphere. Unfortunately, in the context of the earthquake, this means that more women than men were inside their homes when the earthquake hit. Thus, more women and children appear to be among those injured and killed in the collapsed apartment buildings. While so much is unknown, it is certainly an issue that has caught my attention in the first wave of news coverage and photographs. It was striking to me to see how few women are on the streets or involved in the recovery efforts, in comparison to the large number of men that can be observed. As of today, Turkish news outlets report that 459 people have been killed, while hundreds of people remain unaccounted for. Electricity has been cut because of the threat of fire. The lack of strict building codes, and the poor quality of building material seems to be an underlying cause of the high death toll. So far, 2,262 buildings have collapsed (including a university dorm), and recovery teams are still attempting to search the rubble for survivors.