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The Earthquake Diplomacy


Aug 2, 2021
After all the fighting in the forum the last few days,let's remember a time when both our countries had extremely good relations. Even for just a few years.

"On August 17, 1999, at 3:02 am, Turkey experienced a very large earthquake centered around the Gölcük and Arifiye areas in Adapazarı. The most severely affected area was the industrial city of İzmit. The İzmit earthquake registered 7.6 on the moment magnitude scale, lasted for 45 seconds, and had a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The official number of casualties was about 17,000, although the numbers could be above 35,000. Three hundred thousand people were left homeless and the financial cost is estimated at about 3 billion dollars.[1] Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, was also affected with many buildings damaged and deaths amounting to dozens of people. The rupture passed through major cities that are among the most industrialized and urban areas of the country, including oil refineries, several car companies, and the navy headquarters and arsenal in Gölcük, thus increasing the severity of the life and property loss.

Greek reaction and aid management​

The main characteristic of this particular human crisis was the difficulty of the Turkish authorities to apply any rational planning because of the magnitude of the disaster, and the fact that the majority of the Greek initiatives were undertaken not only by the government, but mainly and most importantly by local authorities, NGOs and individuals.[2]

Greece was the first foreign country to pledge aid and support to Turkey. Within hours of the earthquake, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs had contacted their counterparts in Turkey, and the minister sent his personal envoys to Turkey. On August 17, 1999, and on November 13, 1999, the Greek Ministry of Public Order sent a rescue team of 24 people and two trained rescue dogs. The Ministry also sent fire extinguishing planes to help with putting out the fire in the Tupras refinery.[3] The Secretariat of Civil Protections (working under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Interior Affairs) had previously sent a fully equipped medical team of 11 people, four of whom were doctors as well as thousands of tents, mobile hospital units, ambulances, medicine, water, clothes, foods and blankets. The Greek Ministry of Defence readied three C-130 planes[4] for transportation of the Greek rescue team along with the equipment and the medicines. On August 18, 1999, the Ministry of Health set up three units for blood donations. The same day aid was sent by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. On August 19, 1999, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up three receiving stations in Athens, Thessaloniki and Komotini, whose purpose was the gathering of the citizens' spontaneous help. After August 19, the hospitals of Komotini and Xanthi set up their own units for blood donations, and the Church of Greece initiated a fund raiser.[5]

On August 24, 1999, the five bigger municipalities of Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras, Herakleion) sent a joint convoy with aid. The municipality of Thessaloniki had started sending its own aid since August 19, 1999. On August 25, 1999, the National Association of Local Authorities (ΚΕΔΚΕ) offered 50,000,000 drachmas for the victims of the earthquake, and the Association of Local Authorities of Attica offered 30,000,000 drachmas to the Turkish ambassador in Athens. The same day the municipality of Athens created a settlement for 1,000 persons with a nursery. Aid and equipped groups were also sent by the Greek Red Cross, the Athens' Medicine Association, and the Greek departments of the Médecins Sans Frontières and of the Médecins du Monde.[5]

The Greek response to the earthquake received wide coverage in Turkey with newspaper headings such as "Friendship Time",[6] "Friendly Hands in Black Days",[3] "A Great Support Organization – Five Greek Municipalities say there is no flag or ideology in humanitarian aid",[7] "Help Flows in from Neighbors – Russia first, Greece the most".[6]

Both the official response and dialog and the reactions of the ordinary Greek were given wide coverage almost every day in every newspaper and on every TV channel in Turkey. Incidents such as people bringing in food donations to municipalities in Greece and blood drives in Greece specifically to be sent to earthquake victims in Turkey were highlighted. The emotional language in reporting differed significantly from the usual rhetoric found in both countries—words such as "neighbor", "true friend" were given in the headlines
.[citation needed]

Officials in both countries used the emotional state of both populations to good effect, emphasizing at every opportunity that this was the time for a new understanding. When the Mayor of Athens came personally to visit the earthquake site, he was met on the tarmac by the Mayor of Istanbul. The Greek Chief Admiral Ioannides came to the retirement ceremony of the Turkish Chief Admiral Dervisoglu where he was applauded for several minutes by the participants of the ceremony.[8]

Turkey reciprocates​

Main article: 1999 Athens earthquake

Less than a month after the Turkish disaster, on September 7, 1999, at 2:56 pm local time, it was Athens' turn to be hit by a powerful, magnitude 5.9 earthquake. This was the most devastating and costly natural disaster to hit the country in 20 years. The tremor had a very shallow hypocenter and an epicenter close to the Athenian suburbs of Ano Liossia and Acharnes, just 18 km (11 mi) away from the downtown area. A total of 143 people lost their lives in the disaster while more than 12,000 were treated for injuries. Though the death toll was relatively low, the damage to buildings and infrastructure in some of the city's northern and western suburbs was severe.[citation needed]

This time, the Turkish side reciprocated the aid.[9] A special taskforce was convened, consisting of the Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry, Turkish Armed Forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Greek Ambassador in Ankara was contacted to pledge aid. The Turkish aid was the first to arrive, with the first 20-person rescue team arriving at the site on a military plane within 13 hours after the earthquake. More followed within hours. The Greek consulates and embassy in Turkey had their phone lines jammed with Turks calling to find out whether they could donate blood and one volunteer contacted Ambassador Corantis, offering to donate his kidney for a "Greek in need".[10]

The guy at 1:06 must be greek


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