Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev visited Wednesday the Turkish embassy in Azerbaijan.
During the meeting with the Turkish Ambassador Cahit Baghchi, President Aliyev delivered condolences over the mass casualties in Türkiye as a result of the deadly earthquakes that hit the neighboring country on February 6.
According to his press service, the president also left notes in the embassy’s condolence book.
“You know that Azerbaijan, as always, has been by the side of brotherly Türkiye from the first minutes and hours. As always, we have shown our support and solidarity. If we have been able to help at least a little in eliminating the consequences of this bitter tragedy, we consider it an honor for ourselves,” President Aliyev said during the meeting with Ambassador Baghchi.
He further added that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has already launched a big initiative to send humanitarian aid to quake-affected Turkish people, while state oil company SOCAR has been assisting rescue operations on the ground through its offices in Türkiye. SOCAR has been providing free gasoline and diesel fuel to emergency vehicles working in earthquake-hit areas. Moreover, the hospitals in Azerbaijan are ready to receive the wounded from the disaster zones.
“I am sure that Türkiye will come out of this bitter test with honor and cope with it. [...] My brother, the honorable President [Erdogan], immediately gave all the instructions and sent all the ministers to the disaster zones, and I am sure that the strong and powerful Turkish state will overcome this difficulty and continue its efforts in conducting search and rescue operations,” the Azerbaijani president said.
“After that, of course, we are ready to join the restoration work. That is, Türkiye and Azerbaijan are already one fist, one heart and one soul. We see it this way, the citizens of Türkiye and Azerbaijan also see it this way. It is a great honor for us to be with Türkiye in these difficult days.”
According to official data, from February 6 to date, 7 aircraft and 23 trucks were sent from Azerbaijan to the disaster zone. In total, 725 personnel of the Emergency Situations Ministry, including 34 doctors and 7 technicians, have been sent to Türkiye since the natural disaster hit the neighboring country. Rescue dogs of the ministry have also been transferred to the quake-struck areas.
In the Kahramanmarash province, the epicenter of 7.7 and 7.6 magnitudes earthquakes, the Azerbaijani rescuers saved 26 people alive from under the rubble of destroyed buildings, as well as pulled out and transferred the bodies of 47 killed as a result of the quakes.
According to the latest data compiled by the Turkish government, the earthquakes claimed 9,057 lives and injured 52,979. More than 6,444 houses were destroyed, affecting a total of 13.5 million people in 10 southeastern provinces of Türkiye.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Wednesday the disaster zone, where he addressed the victims of the earthquakes. He said Ankara has mobilized all the resources to eliminate the consequences of the earthquake and called for unity and solidarity to fight the disaster.
President Erdogan further announced that each of the families affected by the earthquakes will receive 10,000 Turkish liras ($530) in assistance from the state. According to him, residents of the disaster zone can stay in hotels in Antalya, Alanya, and Mersin regions upon their own decision. He also pledged “mass housing” for quake-affected people within a year.
Ankara on Tuesday announced a three-month state of emergency in the quake-hit provinces of Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa to facilitate the search and rescue operations. Moreover, President Erdogan declared seven days of national mourning after the devastating quakes.