Earthquake in Türkiye
Türkiye and India have maintained friendly relations since establishing diplomatic ties in 1948. This historic relation was tested with the unfortunate occurrence of a devastating earthquake in the southern and central provinces of my beloved Türkiye, tragically resulting in thousands of deaths in a short period with an immediate tumultuous shift in tectonic plates experienced on February 6, 2023. While people were still under the enkaz (Turkish word usually used for rubble), their loved ones already rescued were wailing and trying their best to get a sight of them, the whole Turkish nation from the banks of Maritsa (known in Türkiye as Meriç) to those of Orontes (known as Asi in Turkish) river were mourning then came the hoşhaber (meaning good news; pronounced in Turkish as “hawsh hahber” which is connected to khush khabri in Hindustani since both languages had these words coming in from Iran and Arabia) of India coming to the help of its friend through the “Operation Dost .”As Turkish ambassador to India, Mr. Fırat Sunel mentioned to the Indian twitteratis that “Dost” is a common word between Turkish and Hindustani and how aptly the Turkish proverb “Dost kara günde belli olur” (a friend in need is a friend indeed) fits the moment currently shared by Indo-Turkish relations.
According to Turkish envoy Fırat Sunel, India was among the first countries to assist earthquake-ravaged Türkiye. On the evening of February 6, 2023, India immediately dispatched NDRF squads to assist in rescue operations in affected areas of Turkey. The Indian Air Force sent a C-17 to Adana, carrying 47 NDRF personnel, three senior officers, and a specially trained dog squad. Personnel was accompanied by necessary equipment, such as medical supplies, drilling machines, and other aid-related equipment. India sent Droni drones from Garuda Aerospace to the most affected areas to identify those trapped under rubble and modified Kisan drones carrying medications, food, and supplies. The NDRF teams are equipped with chip and stone cutters, tools used to break through concrete slabs and other building materials to free victims, and radar for detecting heartbeats. The Indian Air Force dispatched two more C-17 aircraft to Turkey on February 7, 2023. These two flights carried relief supplies, a mobile hospital, and additional search-and-rescue teams.
Along with NDRF personnel, the Army Field Hospital in Agra dispatched 89 medical personnel. India had sent six C-17 aircraft as of February 9, 2023. The 7th Operation Dost flight delivered relief supplies to Turkey at Adana Airport. This included medical equipment such as patient monitors, ECG machines, syringe pumps, disaster relief supplies, and supplies for our teams on the ground.
This full support has been a silver lining for the morale of 85 million Turkish people who had been emotionally injured by the number of casualties a natural calamity had wreaked in one night on their beautiful cities. Beautiful skylines of cities like Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, and Adıyaman have been turned overnight into horrid views of some of the most dreaded destinations within Türkiye where the death had a heart-wrenching spectacle for not just the Türkiye but the entire world to behold. Indian Army’s 60 Para Field hospital at Iskenderun (lying on the southernmost tip of the country) has been a ray of hope since the day it launched its operations. Turks of all ages, be they young or old, have been rescued by the valorous force of Indians devoid of any dread but instead charged with the zeal to save and serve humanity. My friend Can hails from Iskenderun; he currently lives with me in Istanbul, but his siblings, who have volunteered as medical workers at the local health centers, clearly vouched for the selfless devotion with which Indians have been saving Turkish lives there. Another friend of mine named Furkan, who hails from Gaziantep, had a similar testimony where he told me of the heroic work done by the Indians, setting a fine example of how a humanitarian relief effort should look. Furkan’s one sentence was enough to suffice the admiration he and his townsfolk have developed for Indians in these last few days. That sentence was “Onlar Kahramanlar,” which translates to “They (Indians) are heroes. “
The Indian support is indeed a hediye (a gift in Turkish) that the Turkish nation will never forget, and mark my words, this will be a turning point and will become a positive milestone for the future growth of Indo-Turkish bilateral relations. Turkish people deeply value those who value them. Therefore, it can be said that Indo-Turkish ties are of immense value. The tremendous outpouring of support from India has added significant value to these historical relations. Everyone in Türkiye is genuinely grateful to the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, for their immaculate decision-making about relief efforts and, of course, most notably, thanks to the armed forces and rescue teams for their actions and the people for their donations, good wishes, and prayers.
Dhanyavaad and Teşekkürler (Thanks in Turkish) India.
Editor’s Note: This is an article we received in our Readers Page section. We thank Sarmad Iqbal for writing this and as a special gesture we are publishing this in our Regular Section and Spotlight.
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