Earthquake blog from Turkey – 1

By Atilla Yesilada, PA Turkey columnist, economist

Midnight, 7 February

In this first entry, I want to share my impressions about the magnitude of this historic disaster, based on two hours of surfing numerous YouTube channels.

As of 12 pm Turkey time, the official death toll is 2.3K and rising, but my impression from watching over a dozen live reports from stricken localities is that is a vast undercount.  The state or the media have no idea what is going on in rural areas.  Since most mobile and fixed lines are cut, information flow is scarce,  but from what I have seen, even in some major cities like Malatya and Adiyaman, there is little to no relief effort underway yet. Again, relying on eyewitness accounts, hundreds of victims are buried under  the wreckage, with relatives clamoring for help.


In several city centers, state hospitals have collapsed.  At least one NG main has ruptured, cutting gas flow to 4 major cities. Electricity is almost non-existent as transmission lines have been destroyed across the vast area affected by the twin gargantuan quakes. The port of Iskenderun reports fires. At least four regional airports have been declared unsafe for civilian flights. Two major highways have sections broken down.

In this first entry, I shall not comment or criticize the adequacy of the national relief effort or the government’s disaster response. From what I have seen, the shocks are so devastating and the geographical expanse is so wide that few governments on the planet would have done an effective job.

A harsh fate awaits the survivors, as most stricken areas suffer from near- or sub-zero temperatures. After shocks continue non-stop, as I have personally witnessed,  and as had  the world media reported, toll buildings were collapsing, as correspondents were reporting live from the area.  Again, based on eyewitness accounts in three cities, the emergency shelters designated for such disasters are non-operational.

As everyone else in this nation, I’m in a state of shock, which is probably impairing my sound judgement, but having witnessed the Great Marmara Quake of 1999, I dare say this beast is going to be much more difficult to be brought under control, but administratively and economically.

I also suspect, these quakes will completely reformat Turkish politics and the economy. To share with you a few nagging suspicions in mind, will it be possible to hold elections  in May if the 11 provinces hit by the earthquake can’t update their voter rolls, or provincial governors certify to the High Election Council that their cities are unsafe to hold ballots. Most certainly, the cost of repairs, resulting supply chain bottlenecks and production breakdowns are going to depress GDP and add to inflation. But, how much foreign aid will be received to mitigate some of the costs? If and when such aid arrives sufficiently, is it possible to stabilize the exchange rate without Central Bank intervention, which would free resources to be dedicated to relief effort?   Will rival political camps cooperate, or use this opportunity to blame the other camp? I don’t  know, but intend to find out and share with you.


For my credentials, check the link


Follow our  English language YouTube videos  @ REAL TURKEY:

And content at Twitter: @AtillaEng

Facebook:  Real Turkey Channel:








Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.