|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 99-08-18
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 HALKBANK HAS STARTED EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND-RAISING FOR DISASTER VICTIMS
 ISRAEL GOVERNMENT SENDING RESCUE TEAM: 120 PEOPLE AND TWO AIRCRAFT
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 EARTHQUAKE CAUSES GREAT DAMAGE IN TURKEYA powerful earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale rocked western Turkey, killing more than 3,000 people and injuring thousands of others. Frequent reports of collapsed buildings in heavily-populated areas suggest that the death toll could rise. The industrial town of Izmit, the epicentre of the quake, seemed to be worst hit. The Anatolian News Agency said that many people had also died in the cities of Bursa, Istanbul and Eskisehir.
On the other hand, the figures published concerning the number of those who are dead and injured in the 'Sabah' daily newspaper are as follows: Izmit: 480 dead, 200 injured; Yalova: 220 dead, 500 injured; Istanbul: 157 dead, 3,726 injured; Sakarya: 150 dead, 600 injured; Bolu and Bursa: 153 dead, 477 injured; Eskisehir: 50 dead, 40 injured. /Sabah-Hurriyet/
 'WOUNDS OF THE EARTHQUAKE WILL BE HEALED'The earthquake disaster which has shaken Turkey has put the politicians to work. Firstly the Prime Minister, other Ministers and a number of deputies have gone to the region in order to inspect the extend of the damage. Today in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), which cancelled its session yesterday, a general discussion concerning the earthquake disaster will be held. After that, the Assembly will stop work for a while. Yesterday before his departure from Istanbul to Ankara, President Suleyman Demirel, stating that he was deeply saddened by the situation, wished for God's mercy on the victims and offered his condolences to the victims of the disaster. The President said in his issued message that our government and our nation would heal these wounds in a short time. The Speaker of the TGNA, Yildirim Akbulut, stated his wishes for God's mercy on those citizens who had lost their life and offered his condolonces to their relatives in his message. The Motherland Party's (ANAP) Chairman Mesut Yilmaz, noting that the high death toll increases our pain, wished God to save our country from a repeat of that kind of disaster. The Republican People's Party's (CHP) Chairman Altan Oymen and some members of the party went to the region yesterday afternoon and they established an 'Earthquake Table' to coordinate the relief effort. The Virtue Party's (FP) Chairman, Recai Kutan, and the True Path Party's (DYP) Leader, Tansu Ciller, also visited the region and examined the situation. Kutan said that Turkey's powerful government will be able to bandage the wounds and heal the pain in a short time. DYP Leader Tansu Ciller noted that the government and the whole of the nation will be united so as to heal all these pains. The Democratic Turkey Party's (DTP) Deputy Chairman, Ismet Sezgin, the Freedom Solidarity Party's Chairman, Ufuk Uras, Turk-Is General Secretary Bayram Meral and the Turkish Employers' Union (TISK) Chairman, Refik Baydur, also expressed their worries concerning the disaster and asked for urgent aid for the victims from the government. /Cumhuriyet/
 CHIRAC 'AWED' BY TURKEY QUAKEFrench President Jacques Chirac, in a message of condolence to his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Demirel, said he was awed by the earthquake which hit western Turkey yesterday. "I heard with awe and grief of the violent earthquake which cruelly struck the Istanbul region", Chirac added.
Meanwhile, Germany said yesterday that it was consulting aid agencies on how to provide relief to Turkey following the devastating earthquake. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that a German Red Cross team was already on its way to Turkey with digging equipment, sniffer dogs to help search for survivors in the rubble and supplies of blood plasma. An excavation team from the THW technical aid group was also ready to fly out to Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said.
Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi said yesterday that he was 'deeply pained' by news of the earthquake in Turkey. "News of the violent earthquake that has hit your country, causing serious material damage and the loss of many lives, has pained me deeply", Ciampi said in a message to President Suleyman Demirel. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Iranian President Muhammed Hatemi and Finnish Head of State Martti Antisaari also sent messages of condolence to Demirel. /All papers/
 AID FOR THE VICTIMSThe Governor's Office in Izmir will send 11 fully-equipped rescue teams to the disaster area, reported the Anatolian News Agency.
It was reported that the crisis desk chaired by the Governor of Izmir, Kemal Nehrozoglu, had decided to send aid to the provinces damaged by the earthquake. Eleven rescue teams will set out at noon from Izmir and will be deployed in Yalova and then distributed to different areas according to the needs of the disaster victims.
It was stated that an emergency supply consisting of bread, ready-made food and water will be sent to the area along with the rescue team. Furthermore, an emergency relief campaign has been launched in the Vakifbank Financemarket's Izmir branch by the Governor of Izmir. It was reported that citizens would be able to deposit their donations in account number 2033854.
The Kizilay (Turkish Red Crescent) Blood Bank's Branch Director, Dr. Ibrahim Ozturk, invited the residents of Izmir to donate blood. Ozturk stated that caravans would be set up to receive blood donations 24 hours a day in the districts of Karsiyaka, Konak and Odemis in Izmir (including the centre of Izmir) and also in the provinces of Aydin and Usak.
Ozturk, stating that they will bandage the wounds of their compatriots together, according to the needs of the earthquake-hit areas, said, "We have launched all kinds of disaster preparations in conjunction with the Directorate General of the Turkish branch of Red Crescent. We are ready to carry out all sorts of efforts."
 HALKBANK HAS STARTED EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND-RAISING FOR DISASTER VICTIMSHalkbank has opened an account at in Central Branch in Ankara for those who have suffered as a result of the earthquake, whose epicentre was Kocaeli, reported the Anatolian News Agency.
In a statement by Halkbank, those who wish to do so can deposit their donations in Halkbank branches all around the country; the emergency relief effort's account number for Turkish lira is 640500000; IR762600 for dollars and IS762500 for Deutsche Marks.
 ISRAEL GOVERNMENT SENDING RESCUE TEAM: 120 PEOPLE AND TWO AIRCRAFTThe Israeli government is sending a rescue team of 120 people in order to contribute to the rescue operations due to the destruction caused the earthquake that occured mostly in the Marmara Region and registered 6.7 on the Richter scale.
In a statement by the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, afirst-aid team of 120 people, a C-130 and a Boeing 747 aircraft will be sent today. Specially-trained sniffer dogs will also be part of the team.
The Israeli Embassy in Ankara said that the Israeli people share Turkey's grief and had been shaken by the disaster. The Israeli Embassy also made an announcement through its press attache, Gilad Cohen, and reported that Israeli officials are deeply saddened because of the earthquake that occured in Turkey.
It was further stated that press attache Cohen, Israel's Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior are working with Turkish officials on certain areas concerning the earthquake. Cohen said that Israel was experienced in how to deal with rescue efforts after such disasters and that they were ready to carry out all sorts of things related to this terrible event. Cohen added, "It has been decided that emergency aid will be sent to Turkey."
 FRANCE WILL SEND TURKEY A RESCUE TEAMThe French government will send Turkey a special rescue team and a crisis centre has been set up in Paris, reported the Anatolian News Agency.
In a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a team of 60 people from the Civil Defence Intervention Association in Brignolles, Southern France, is ready to go to Turkey. The team is expert in search and rescue techniques to find those who are underneath the rubble; it comprises four doctors, six specially-trained sniffer dogs and 8 canine trainees. It was reported that the team was expected to arrive in Turkey at the earthquake area at noon today.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that information related to the disaster could be received from the crisis centre founded in Paris. The special help-line telephone numbers are 01.43.17.86.86 and 01.43.17.53.53. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out the difficulties in communicating with Turkey and stated that as far as can be seen, no French people have died or been injured in the disaster.
Furthermore, the Czech Republic has reported its readiness to help Turkey after the earthquake. A spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that they were in contact with their Turkish colleagues and that they are ready to help the relief effort and aid the victims of the disaster in any way possible.
The spokesperson said that according to Turkey's needs the volume and type of aid required would be determined and that they had not been able to communicate with the Czech Republic's Consulate in Istanbul yet.
 TREASURY DELAYS THREE-YEAR FRN AUCTION TO WEDNESDAYThe Treasury's three-year floating rate note (FRN) auction scheduled for yesterday was postponed to Wednesday due to the major earthquake, the Central Bank said. It said the value date in the auction would remain as Wednesday. The Treasury plans to borrow between 550-750 trillion TL by issuing FRNs carrying quarterly coupons. It faces a bond redemption of 1,223 trillion TL today. /All papers/
 FIRE IN TUPRASAs a result of the earthquake, a fire has engulfed the Tupras Refinery in Izmit. Fire-extinguishing helicopters from the Naval Forces and Foreign Ministry have not been able to bring the fire under control despite intensive efforts. Officials said that a special fire-extinguishing aircraft had been requested from France in order to put out the fire. Meanwhile, because of a leakage in the natural gas network of the Turkish Petroleum Transport Company (BOTAS) in Yalova, the Altinova district has been evacuated.
Meanwhile, during a meeting of the Council of Ministers yesterday evening, seven cities -Istanbul, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Bursa, Bolu, Yalova and Eskisehir - were declared disaster zones. /Hurriyet/
 ECONOMY DAMAGED BY THE EARTHQUAKEThe earthquake, which has affected six cities in the Marmara Region and is the biggest in recent years, has dealt a great blow to the Turkish economy. Istanbul, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Canakkale, Eskisehir and Bursa own a 35 % share in the Turkish economy. These six cities constitute 45.2 % of Turkish industry and 34.6 % of the trade sector. According to State Institute of Statistics' (DIE) data, Istanbul alone achieves 22.8 % of Turkey's total Gross National Product (GNP); Istanbul contains 26.9 % of the Turkish trade sector, 28.8 % of Turkish industry and 49.5 % of the Turkish financial sector. It is reported that a one-day production loss in these regions amounted to nearly 135 trillion TL. Meanwhile, the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) and the Istanbul Gold Exchange were closed yesterday due to the disaster. /Hurriyet/
 TURKI-IS FORMER CHAIRMAN DIESThe former Chairman of the Turkish Trade Unions' Federation (Turk-Is), Sevket Yilmaz, who was on vacation in Yalova, lost his life in the earthquake in this city. His wife was rescued, although it is reported that she has been injured. Meanwhile, the Executive Board of Hak-Is, said that Turkey should lend a helping hand to every citizen affected by the earthquake. The Commander of the Naval War College, Vice-Admiral Orhan Aydin, also died during the earthquake in Golcuk.
 AID CAMPAIGNS FOR DISASTER VICTIMSVarious institutions have launched aid campaigns for the victims of the earthquake which hit the Marmara region in particular the areas of Kocaeli, Adapazari, Yalova and Istanbul. The Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) has started an emergency relief aid campaign with 5 trillion TL. TOBB also called upon all chambers, industrialists and non-governmental organizations to contribute to the campaign. The Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) granted 1 trillion TL to the budget of the Finance Ministry to meet the requirements of those citizens affected by the earthquake. While Vakifbank donated 250 billion TL, Halkbank and Emlakbank each offered 100 billion TL to the aid effort for the victims.
The Is Bank took part in the campaign launched by the General Directorate of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), donating 250 billion TL. The Central Union of the Turkish Agricultural Credit Cooperatives contributed to the account opened by the Prime Ministry's Crisis Centre with a donation of 25 billion TL. Toprakbank granted 1 billion TL to the victims.
The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) opened a fund-raising account at Ziraat Bank's Yenisehir-Ankara Branch for the victims of the earthquake. The account numbers are 30459/7000-8 for TL, 30103/82000-6 for US Dollars, and 30103_82001-5 for DM. The Governor's Office of Istanbul province has also initiated an emergency relief fund-raising campaign. Citizens who want to aid the victims of the earthquake can deposit money in the following accounts; Ziraat Bank, Cagaloglu Branch- 30459-3434-2; Emlakbank, Central Branch- 444444; Vakifbank, Sirkeci Branch- 66077 and Halkbank, Sirkeci Branch- 66077. /Hurriyet/
 MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND PERSONNEL TO DISASTER REGIONSThe Health Ministry has dispatched ambulances, medical supplies and personnel to Yalova and Golcuk which were the worst hit by the earthquake, from the surrounding provinces. According to a statement made by the Health Ministry, 49 ambulances, 15 general surgeons, 14 orthopedic surgeons, 12 brain surgeons, 5 chest surgeons and 28 nurses have been dispatched to Kocaeli, Golcuk, Duzce, Bolu, Sakarya and Yalova. Also in Kayseri, Eskisehir and Antalya the Provincial Health Directorates are ready to dispatch 15 ambulances, 15 general surgeons, 5 brain surgeons, 5 orthopedic surgeons and 30 nurses. Medicines supplied from Istanbul and Ankara are being sent to the regions with the help of some private sector firms. Two tents for 25 persons from Adana, one Sahara-tent and one health centre-tent from Istanbul were sent to Sakarya. Meanwhile, the private Guven Hospital has dispatched one ambulance and a medical team to Sakarya. /Anatolian News Agency/
 ENVIRONMENT MINISTER DUE TO ISTANBULEnviroment Minister Fevzi Aytekin, has left for Istanbul overland in order to inspect the damage in Istanbul and also in the surrounding provinces. It is stated that the Minister Fevzi Aytekin has been appointed by the Prime Ministry's Crisis Centre to examine the situation in the worst-hit regions. /Anatolian News Agency/
 CLINTON: "WE WILL NOT ABANDON OUR FRIEND"US President Bill Clinton said that his country was ready to offer every aid to Turkey in the aftermath of the earthquake. Clinton issued a statement on the occasion: "A terrible earthquake has caused the deaths of hundreds of people and injured many others. Turkey has been an ally and friend of the US for many years. We are ready to make every effort to help the victims. Rescue teams from the Red Cross will go to Turkey. The US Energy Secretary, Bill Richardson, and US Chief of General Staff Henry Shelton are already in Turkey. Shelton has pointed out that the US is ready to offer every kind of military support". Meanwhile, US Deputy Secretary of State Grossman stated that a search rescue team has been sent to Istanbul. The US Ambassador to Ankara, Mark Parris, stated that an emergency aid package worth $25,000 has initially been sent to Turkey. /Hurriyet/
 CRISIS DESK IN FOREIGN MINISTRYA crisis desk was established at the Turkish Foreign Ministry building yesterday due to the earthquake which hit western Turkey. The crisis desk headed by the General Director of the Multi-Lateral Political Relations Department, Metin Ornekol, will cooperate with the crisis desk in the Prime Ministry building and coordinate aid arriving from foreign countries. /Hurriyet/
 AID FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIESMany international institutions including the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the EU have offered aid to the victims in Turkey. Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis rallied emergency rescue teams to heal the wounds in Turkey; three Greek aircraft carrying doctors and sanitary equipment arrived in Turkey yesterday evening.
Russia sent an aircraft consisting of doctors and sniffer dogs to Turkey yesterday. Russian officials said that the Ministry of Natural Disasters and Emergencies would also send a mobile hospital to Turkey. Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev stated yesterday that he had sent 30 doctors and 30 assistants to Turkey to help the victims. Aliyev said that his country was ready to give every support at this time to the Turkish nation. The International Red Cross Organization called for the establishment of an aid fund with a donation of $6.6 million. Rescue teams from Austria, Denmark, Japan are also arriving in Turkey. A crisis centre has been set up in Paris, France, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced, from where information about the earthquake in Turkey could be obtained. The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman Silvia stated that they were ready to help Turkey with the victims and the recconstruction of the region. The American-Turkish Associations' Assembly (ATAA) also launched an emergency relief campaign to help those affected by the earthquake. The German Government will give 1 million DM in aid to Turkey while Italy has sent a transport plane carrying doctors and medicine.
Many international TV stations and newspapers have devoted wide coverage to the earthquake in western Turkey; CNN, ABC News, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, AP, Reuters, AFP and the BBC broadcast the earthquake in a newsflash. /Hurriyet/
 MESSAGES OF CONDOLENCE TO TURKEYGreek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis sent a message of condolence to his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit yesterday. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu phoned his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem and expressed his sorrow over the incident. The Spanish King Juan Carlos sent a message of condolence to Turkish President Suleyman Demirel. Pakistani Head of State Muhammed Refik Tarar and Prime Minister Muhammed Nevaz Serif sent messages to Demirel and Ecevit and said: "We are deeply sorrowful for the earthquake which has cost so many lives and caused such destruction". Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov sent a message of condolence to Demirel. /Hurriyet/
 NATO ON STAGEThe international offers of help became a priorityafter the earthqake news in Turkey was spread all around the world. NATO appeared on the stage while countries like Japan, Germany, Britain, France and Switzerland have helped economically and technically with the earthquake with their search and rescue teams.
The officials of the European Atlantic Coordination Centre for Disasters that was founded in previous years and dependent on NATO met with Ankara and the Turkish office in NATO and offered its help. This centre is supposed to operate during all kinds of disasters that occur in member and associated members' countries. The aim of the organization is to coordinate and speed up the relief effort during these disasters.
Officials stated that Turkey's demands were limited to rescue teams and rescue equipment for now and that they would work with the crisis desk that has been set up in the Ministry of the Interior. /Milliyet/
 INTEREST IN THE AEGEAN FREE ZONEGlobal multinationals are in competition to invest in the Aegean Free Zone. FTC, a producer of aviation spare parts, and the fashion giant Hugo Boss are trying to find a place among the 330 Turkish and foreign investors that currently manufacture in the AFZ. The Advertising and Foreign Affairs' General Coordinator in Esbas, Fahri Gokyayla, stated that foreign firms are very much interested in the AFZ.
Gokyayla, stating that the number of foreign firms-currently standing at 70 will increase, said, "FTC, the world-famous producer of aviation spare parts, the fashion giant Hugo Boss, Volvo, Henkel, Eldor and firms like them are constructing factories in the area. The number of employed is 4,000 now and we are expecting this number to increase to 30,000 by the year 2005. In addition, the number of firms will reach 800 in three or five years." Gokyayla, stating that they improved themselves in spite of all the negative effects of 1998, revealed that their trade volume was 5 million dollars by the year 1998./Milliyet/
 MONEY NEEDED FOR WEAPONS IN TURKEYThe 'Defence News' magazine published in the US said that Turkey needed new financial sources of billions of dollars in order to carry out her defence plans. The magazine quoted the words of the Defence Industry Undersecretary Yalcin Burcak who said that if the necessary funds are not found, some projects will have to be postponed. Among the huge schemes being coordinated by the Defence Industry Undersecretariat are the joint production of 145 fighter helicopters, the joint production of 1,000 tanks and the purchase of four early-warning aircraft. /Hurriyet/
 US: "RELATIONS WITH TURKEY WILL FURTHER DEVELOP"US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said that Turkey and the US would continue to work together to transport Caucasian oil and Turkmen natural gas to the world and added that conditions existed conducive to the development of the trade volume between the two countries. Richardson, who delivered a speech at a meeting with members of the Turco-American Businessmen's Association (TABA) yesterday morning, stated that Turkey has achieved many things in order to open up to world markets particularly with reference to international arbitration. He said, "The US Congress supports arbitration. The US also sides with the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Turkmen natural gas projects". Richardson pointed out that not only in the sector of energy, but in many other areas, Turkey and the US would work together and reaffirmed that privatization would be accelerated with the implementation of arbitration.
The Director of the US Trade and Development Commission, Joseph Grandmaison, said that with the contributions of the US, Turkey, Azerbaijan and other countries in the region, the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project would come to fruition. The Head of TABA, Bulent Senver, said for his part that it was now time to invest in Turkey. /Hurriyet/
 CYPRUS BREAKTHROUGH BY HERCUSThe Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Cyprus, Ann Hercus, has resumed her shuttle diplomacy betwen the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot Leader Glafkos Klerides following a one-month interval. Hercus held separate meetings with Denktas and Klerides. No statement was announced concerning the meetings. A statement issued by the UN Peace Force on Cyprus said that Hercus, who has resigned from her post, will continue to carry out her duties until September 30. /Turkiye/
 NO CHANGE IN THE RATE OF FOREIGN EXCHANGEThe Head of the Central Bank, Gazi Ercel, issued a statement yesterday and said that there would be no change in the Turkish policy concerning the rate of foreign exchange in the upcoming period. He added that Turkey has been implementing the PEG system for many years. /Hurriyet/
 102 TERRORISTS CAPTUREDBrigadier-General Abdulkadir Eryilmaz, who transferred the post of the Gendarmerie Regional Command to Fikret Demirtas, said that during 3,037 operations carried out in Southeastern Anatolia during the past two years, 102 terrorists have been rendered ineffective. Eryilmaz stated that 276 PKK members have also been arrested. /Turkiye/
 KIWI FRUIT PRODUCTION UPThe production of kiwi fruit is increasing in Rize. Officials said that the kiwi orchards now cover 300,000 square metres in Rize and its surroundings. They added that kiwi production would exceed 250 tons this year; this figure was 200 tons last year. /Aksam/
 INVESTMENT INCENTIVES ARE IN PROGRESSThe Treasury Undersecretariat issued 177 incentive certificates, the total investment amount of which was 208 trillion TL, in July 1999. The largest was received in the service sector. /Aksam/
 EXPORTS FROM GAP REGIONExports of industrial products and fresh fruit from the Southeastern Anatolia project (GAP) region in the January-July period of 1999 increased by 74.3 % to $51.4 million, the Anatolia News Agency reports. In the same period last year, the region exported $29.5 million worth of industrial products and fresh fruit.
 ERDAG AKSEL IN POLAND WITH 'RETOUR DE FORCE'Erdag Aksel, a lecturer in Sabanci University's Art and Social Science Faculty, opened an exhibition named 'Retour de Paris' in Gdansk, Poland. It is the first private exhibition by a Turkish artist in Gdansk. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 WE ARE IN DEEP MOURNING -BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Yilmaz Oztuna, a columnist in the daily 'Turkiye' newspaper, says the following in his article today:
"An earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale has plunged Turkey into deep mourning. Unfortunately, the second millenium ends with such a national disaster. Our sorrow is as deep as the ocean. The biggest earthquake during the Ottoman Empire was on July 14, 1509. It happened during the reign of Sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512) when nearly 5,000 people living in Istanbul died and 1,070 houses, 109 mosques and masjids were destroyed. Topkapi Palace and Istanbul's ancient city walls were also damaged. The disaster affected a region stretching to Edirne.
Another big earthquake was on May 22, 1766, during the reign of Sultan Mustafa III (1757-1774). The Fatih and Eyubsultan Mosques built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet were ruined; these mosques were later restored. Another earthquake which happened prior to yesterday's was on July 10, 1894, during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II (1878-1909). The Covered Bazaar collapsed. Now, after 105 years, another great earthquake has again occurred. Our spiritual and financial damage is great. We offer our condolences to all of our nation".
 THE EARTHQUAKE -BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Taha Akyol, a columnist in the daily 'Milliyet' newspaper, says the following in his article today:
A terrible feeling of dread... everywhere is being shaken. The jar on the table falls down and breaks. The books on the shelves and the paintings on the wall fall down. A tremor of 45 seconds seems to last an hour. I wait in the doorway that leads the corridor; there is nothing to do but pray.
At this moment one only remembers the people he loves. My little son is in Antalya with his mother. There should not be an earthquake in Antalya, no it happen! My elder son is sticking to the doorway just like me. We tell each other not to worry but we are terribly worried and more than afraid in fact.
Thank God, the earthquake has stopped. What would we do if it began again or worse, if it occured more strongly? I wonder if our home is safe and sound. We run to the window. It seems as if nothing has happened. The roads become full of cars in a short period of time. The lights to out. The phone rings. Ten minutes after the earthquake my wife is calling from Antalya and asking me how we are. I tell her that this was not a strong tremor and ask her not to worry.
I am at CNN's Turkish news centre. The news and the pictures that are being shown on CNN show that Turkey is face to face with a disaster. Views: in Sisli, where the same earthquake occurred, there is no damage but the situation in Avcilar, Kartal and Pendik is terrible. Obviously if only Turkey was a developed and firmly urbanized country, this earthquake would not have caused so much damage.
Another reason that saved Istanbul from a more terrible disaster is that the city is far away from the earthquake's epicentre. In Izmit, Adapazari and Yalova, over the epicentre, the situation is devastating. A real disaster. We wish that our compatriots who are waiting for help and our soldiers who are trapped underneath the rubble would be rescued. We should work together to heal their wounds. I pray for the souls of those who have died.
The earthquake is measured. The latest earthquake in Turkey registers 6.7 on the Richter scale, which means a very strong quake. Furthermore, it lasted for 45 seconds, which is a long period of time. The experts say, "If the earthquake's strength increases even one point on the Richter scale, then the energy of the earthquake increases 36 times more. The energy of an earthquake registering a 6 on the Richter scale is 1,000 times stronger than that of a 4.
The province of Erzincan was wiped off the map because of an earthquake of an earthquake registering 7.9 on the Richter scale in 1993, during which 33,000 people died. This time the strength of the earthquake is high but not as much as that one. 80% of Turkey lies on a seismic faultzone; it is the fifth big disaster that has occurred in Turkey in the 90's.
We should have developed a consciousness due to living in an earthquake zone just like the Japanese: the consciousness that construct buildings resistent to earthquakes and the consciousness of social cooperation and mutual aid in order to heal the wounds caused by the earthquake. The first step should be to pass a legal decision announcing a "national emergency."
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