The Turkic world has been among the first to help after the deadly February 6 earthquakes in southern Türkiye, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Erdogan made the declaration on Thursday as he hosted the extraordinary summit of leaders of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
“We called for international help. The Turkic world was among the first to help. You did not leave us alone in our most difficult moment,” Erdogan said at the opening of the summit.
“Our beloved nation will never forget your support,” he added.
“We will once again show at the highest level that the Turkic world is of one heart and band together,” Erdogan further said.
Erdogan was joined by OTS Secretary-General Kubanychbek Omuraliev at the presidential complex as they welcomed leaders of the Turkic-speaking world.
The summit was also attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Ersin Tatar, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as well as Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, chairman of the People’s Council of Turkmenistan.
Following the summit, the leaders signed the Ankara declaration, which conveyed condolences to the Turkish people for the two devastating earthquakes.
On February 6, the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 provinces — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa, claiming the lives of nearly 50,000 people.
More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the devastating quakes, as well as many others in northern Syria.
Multilateral cooperation and coordination
During the meeting, whose theme is Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance, the leaders discussed the multilateral cooperation and coordination mechanisms in the fight against disasters, as well as other challenges in the region.
The OTS, formerly called the Turkic Council, is an international organization comprising prominent independent Turkic countries that work together to elevate relations and union among themselves.
Its members are Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, while EU state Hungary, Turkmenistan, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have observer status.
Following the meeting, President Erdogan also held a separate bilateral meeting with Hungary’s Orban, but there were no additional details released of the meeting at the time of publication.