On February 6, two independent earthquakes with magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6 rocked Türkiye, taking a heavy toll on more than 13.5 million people in 11 provinces, including Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Şanlıurfa. The occurrence of these earthquakes in such close proximity to the earth's surface within hours exponentially escalated the breadth of destruction, causing Türkiye to face one of the largest disasters in the region and the entire world. The unprecedented quakes claimed the lives of more than 44,000 people, leaving in its wake over 110,000 injured, with strong tremors being felt in several countries across the region, including Syria.
Briefed at the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) on February 6, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered his remarks: “From the moment the earthquake struck, our state has taken action with all of its institutions. The governorates have immediately mobilized all their means in relevant provinces. Talks for international aid have gone underway as well. In addition to NATO and the European Union, 45 other countries have offered aid."
The AFAD Coordination Center, led by Vice President Fuat Oktay, and the State Information Coordination Center (SICC) of the Presidential Complex played critical roles in orchestrating disaster response in the region. Speaking at the SICC on February 7, President Erdoğan declared a three-month state of emergency in the provinces most affected by the earthquake, citing Article 119 of the Turkish Constitution to expedite operations.
Between February 8-11, President Erdoğan visited earthquake-stricken provinces, met with victims in tent cities and hospitals, inspected relief efforts, and announced support packages for those affected by the massive disaster. The package included an initial payment of TRY 10,000 for all residents in the region, relocation support of TRY 15,000, rent support of up to TRY 5,000 for each family, and benefit of TRY 100,000 for families of citizens who lost their lives.
In the wake of the earthquake, Türkiye received support and condolence messages from more than 100 countries across all continents, who demonstrated their solidarity by dispatching rescue teams and organizing aid campaigns. On February 12, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was the first leader to visit Türkiye for the earthquake and meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, followed in the coming days by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Ersin Tatar and Prime Minister Ünal Üstel, Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council's Bosnian Member Denis Bećirović, Croatian Member Željko Komšić and Serbian Member Željka Cvijanović, Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government President Nechirvan Barzani, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Government of National Unity of Libya's Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
According to AFAD, more than 253,000 search and rescue personnel, over 12,500 vehicles, 121 helicopters, and 75 aircraft worked in the field, helping in the evacuation of over 216,000 people from earthquake-hit provinces.