Turkish President Erdogan declares a three-month state of emergency for the regions hit by the earthquake


Turkish President and Justice and Development Party (AK) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at his party group meeting at Turkey’s Grand National Assembly (TGNA) in Ankara, May 18, 2022.

Breath Altan | AFP | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in ten of the country’s provinces.

Turkey and neighboring Syria are reeling from two successive earthquakes – the strongest in the region in nearly a century – that have devastated vast swaths of territory, claiming lives and buildings in the process.

At the time of writing, the death toll from the earthquakes is above 5,000, with many still missing and seriously injured. And shortly after the seismic disaster left tens of thousands of people homeless, a brutal winter storm erupted, threatening even more lives.

The quakes, which occurred nine hours apart and measured 7.8 and 7.5 respectively on the Richter scale, destroyed at least 6,000 buildings, many with people still inside. Rescue efforts continue — the Turkish government has deployed nearly 15,000 search and rescue workers — and countries around the world have pledged aid, but aid workers in both countries say they are completely overwhelmed.

Syria, already paralyzed by years of war and terrorism, is the least prepared for such a crisis. The affected regions are home to thousands of internally displaced people already living in squalid conditions, such as tents and makeshift shacks, with very little healthcare and emergency services infrastructure to rely on.

With the dust of the catastrophe still settling, regional analysts are focusing on the long-term consequences it could have for Turkey, a country whose 85 million inhabitants were already mired in economic trouble – and whose military, economy and president a major impact far beyond the borders.

This is a breaking news story, check back later for more information.

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