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Turkey Earthquake
Written by Arundhati Toshniwal on February 8, 2023 Share on

Travelling to Turkey: Impact of the Earthquakes on Tourism

Turkey has been hit hard by a string of significant earthquakes since February 6th, Monday morning. The first hit was a 7.8-magnitude tremor, around 4:17 AM on Monday, and is being characterised as the country’s biggest and perilous quake in more than a century. It shook the city of Gaziantep in the southeast region and since then another second earthquake has also been confirmed with a 7.5-magnitude which occurred around 1:24 PM, same day, in a separate southeast region. These two massive earthquakes struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria, causing widespread devastation and killing an estimated 5,000 people. The Foreign Office (FCDO) has advised tourists to “avoid the local proximity” of an earthquake that has occurred in southeast Turkey.

  • What location did the earthquake occur?
    • The Kahramanmaras earthquake was felt in north Syria and southeast Turkey. It struck the city of Gaziantep in the southeast. Hours later, a second earthquake occurred between the cities of Ekinözü and Malatya.

Is it okay to visit Turkey?

It is better to avoid the seismic area at all costs. If you decide to go to Turkey, you can travel to the cities of Ankara and Istanbul, which are hundreds of miles apart in the western part of the country. The Aegean coast and other places where these cities are located can be normally travelled. 

Avoid travelling to the following places in Turkey:

  • Gaziantep
  • Hatay\Osmaniye
  • Adıyaman
  • Diyarbakır\şanlıurfa
  • Kahramanmaras
  • Kilis
  • Adana
  • Malatya

Airports in Turkey

As a result of runway damage, three airports in Turkey have closed. Adana Sakirpasa Airport (ADA), Hatay Airport (HTY), and Gaziantep Oguzeli International Airport (GZT) are these three airports. Only one major airport in the area is still functional, and it is only used by aircraft operating in relief supplies or evacuating people. More details about the condition of the airport would become available after the chaos has settled.

Has the earthquake caused any harm to historical sites?

The earthquake has severely damaged several cultural landmarks of the country.

  • Ancient Syrian city of Aleppo: The ancient Syrian city of Aleppo is “especially concerning,” according to a spokesperson for UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organisation.
  • Citadel of Aleppo: There has been “severe damage” to the Citadel of Aleppo, a massive mediaeval palace in the city’s centre.
  • The Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens: Both the Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens in Turkey experienced building collapses. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back over 2,000 years.

What has the Turkish government stated?

  • On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that there had been “severe destruction” in cities in the area, estimating that over 3,000 buildings had been destroyed. He also proclaimed a three-month state of emergency in ten of the nation’s provinces.
  • Fuat Oktay, the vice president of Turkey, stated that 3,294 search and rescue teams from 14 different countries have already arrived to help. He added that the teams were being sent to the provinces of Hatay, Kahramanmaras, and Adiyaman, areas which are seriously damaged.

How can you help the people of Turkey?

There are numerous ways to support Turkey in this tough times from an afar:

  • You can donate to organisations and NGOs that are devoted to the humanitarian response, such as the Red Cross, Save the Children, and Islamic Relief. A modest contribution can have a significant impact.
  • More than 1,500 online fundraising sites for the tragedy victims have already been created on the internet fundraising website GoFundMe.

As the dust settles, we believe that the country will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of this tragic earthquake very soon. We stand united and send our best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. 

Last updated: February 8th, 2023

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