February 12, 2023
Devastating Earthquake in Turkey

Below we publish the statement issued by the Communist Party of Turkey on February 8.

OUR country and neighbouring Syria have faced a massively destructive earthquake. We are in deep grief and very sorry to inform you that the destruction and damage caused by the earthquake seems quite massive.

For brief information: The main earthquake of 7.7 magnitude occurred in the east of our country at 4:17.  Severe aftershocks continue. Some of them are even difficult to be called as aftershocks. A recent one of 7.6 magnitude has occurred in Kahramanmaraş/Elbistan.

The center of the earthquake is Kahramanmaraş/Pazarcık. Seven city centers and districts were affected. Affected cities are mainly Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa, Malatya, Hatay and Osmaniye. It means a very broad area indeed. According to the information we have been receiving, there are quite seriously affected areas in each of these cities. Some of these areas are away from each other, which makes the management of the crisis harder.

We are sorry to say that, the dimensions of the destruction seem quite bigger and these numbers will continue to increase. We now have a clear idea on the magnitude and extent of the earthquake, but with regards to the death toll, we can only make frightening estimates. Turkey has lost tens of thousands of citizens, because of the irrationalities of the capitalist social order.

Until now, unfortunately, we have lost two party members, and we haven’t been able to communicate with around 50 comrades so far. One of our party offices collapsed. We still continue to reach and check the situation of our comrades in the region. There are severe transportation and telecommunication problems. So, we still could not ensure the health condition and well-being of some comrades and their families.

Apart from these, all TKP branches are active at the moment. TKP immediately formed a crisis desk right after the earthquake. A team of our comrades has left for the region in order for coordination of rescuing and solidarity work in the field. Quickly identifying the needs in the region, we started solidarity activities across the country. We are conducting search and rescue work, our comrade health professionals treat the injured, and we are serving food and other aid materials in the solidarity spots we have launched in the region. As of today, seven trucks of aid materials were delivered to the region. We have set up a mobile kitchen with the capacity to serve 3000 per day and several permanent food service spots.

That in some cities it was TKP who had provided aid even before the state authorities did, is a clear proof of how the capitalist order has become dysfunctional. Many citizens under the wreckage wait to be rescued. Citizens in the region face harsh winter conditions. Of course the magnitude and the extent of the earthquake is adding to the challenges, but the incapacity of the ruling power cannot be explained by only this.

On the one hand our Party is organising its main duty of solidarity with our people, on the other, we are telling them the reasons for their utter despair, caused by the capitalist order. In this sense, these last few days have resulted in a dramatic change in the public opinion.

The earthquake not only changed the content of the work of our Party in a radical manner, but also rendered the political calendar of Turkey completely unclear. Under these conditions, we cannot be certain whether the general elections that are scheduled to take place on May 14, will be held or not. The TKP thanked the communist and worker’s parties for the several solidarity messages it has received so far and promised to share a detailed note on the situation and inform on the potential international solidarity work.