Antakya Unites to Commemorate Earthquake Anniversaries

Thousands gathered this morning in Antakya, Hatay province, to honor the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquakes that rocked southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. With candles in hand and tears in their eyes, more than 10,000 mourners convened in public squares, reflecting on the tragedy that claimed over 50,000 lives in Turkey and nearly 6,000 in Syria. Protesters voiced their anger at what they perceived as government negligence in the aftermath of the disaster, calling for the resignation of local officials and criticizing the lack of swift assistance during the critical hours following the tremors. They confronted Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, echoing the desperate cries for help from those trapped beneath the rubble. Following the vigil, participants threw flowers into the Asi River, honoring the memory of the departed. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged the enduring pain of the earthquake’s aftermath and emphasized the government’s commitment to rebuilding shattered communities. However, disillusionment persists among survivors, with many questioning the slow pace of reconstruction and the efficacy of official response efforts. Many are looking to leave the country.