Türkiye’s top diplomat has expressed gratitude to the European Union and the international community for the support and solidarity given in the wake of deadly earthquakes earlier this month.
The EU has shown great solidarity with Türkiye during such a difficult period, Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday at a joint press conference in the capital Ankara with EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi and Johan Forssell, the international development minister of Sweden, currently the EU’s term president.
Underlining that Türkiye has benefitted from EU solidarity funds and its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) as a candidate country, Cavusoglu said there had been interruptions in IPA funds before and that such interruptions were not beneficial.
For his part, EU Commissioner Varhelyi conveyed his condolences over the deadly earthquakes and said they were in Türkiye to help.
“We care because we are friends because we are allies and I think this cannot be underlined strong enough.”
“My generation for sure has not seen such a devastating earthquake on the planet and this is why the human suffering is immense,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Forssell also conveyed a message of “solidarity and of commitment to the people in Türkiye affected by the devastating earthquakes.”
“There are, of course, no words of condolences from the outside world that will properly match this unimaginable catastrophe and its consequences for the Turkish people. But, we can take action and we will take action, and that is why we are here today,” Forssell added.
At least 42,310 people were killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on February 6. Thousands of others were injured.
Thousands of aftershocks
The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said the quakes, centred in the Pazarcik and Elbistan districts of Kahramanmaras province, were followed by 7,184 aftershocks.
Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the tremors that struck in less than 10 hours.
A total of 14,740 local and international search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, it added.
The teams have set up tent and container cities in the earthquake zone as well as mobile health clinics to provide psychological support to the victims.
Separately, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced at a press briefing that at least six people were killed and 562 others wounded with 18 in critical condition after a fresh earthquake jolted Türkiye’s southernmost province of Hatay late on Monday.