Quake Latest: Turkey Declares Three-Month State of Emergency

February 7, 2023

Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency in areas struck by two massive earthquakes earlier this week, allowing the government more leeway for rescue and reconstruction efforts.

Emergency teams are racing against the clock to save potentially thousands of victims trapped in rubble after 10 Turkish cities were struck on Monday. The death toll across Turkey and neighboring Syria has topped 5,000, while more than 11,000 buildings have been damaged from the temblors, trapping many inside in freezing temperatures.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is overwhelmed by the extent of the logistical problems and aid needed to assist the 13.4 million people living in the areas affected by the disaster. Many countries have pledged to help, including the US.

The twin earthquakes had magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6, striking Turkey’s southeast and causing widespread destruction there and in neighboring Syria. Roads and airports were damaged, while crude-oil flows to a key export terminal were halted for more than 24 hours as a precaution.

International aid efforts continue with UAE pledge

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed will grant $100 million as aid for earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey, split equally between the two countries, according to state news agency WAM.

Rescue teams from Romania, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Lebanon have already been deployed in the quake zone, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said, as part of a broad international effort to quickly respond to the crisis. Many other countries have also offered help.

The European Union has sent more than 1,150 rescue workers from 19 European countries, according to the EU Commission.

Here are the oil pipelines affected by the earthquakes

The two pipelines carry oil from Azerbaijan and Iraq to Turkey’s Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean coast for export to world markets.

Turkey ordered the restart of flows earlier Tuesday following post-earthquake checks. Iraq’s state oil company said it hopes to resume on Tuesday afternoon.

Erdogan’s governing AK Party MP Yakup Tas died in the earthquake in Adiyaman province, parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop said on Twitter.

Disaster related public spending after the quakes including rebuilding efforts may surmount to 5.5% of the GDP, according to Bloomberg Economics. A government-backed loans program, quite likely, could result in a higher figure and breach government’s budget targets. Calculations take into consideration government spending after previous high-magnitude quakes

Erdogan declares state of emergency

Turkey’s President Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 provinces to cope with the aftermath of the twin earthquakes.

Emergency rule, which needs to be approved by parliament, would enable the government to take extraordinary security and financial measures in the stricken areas.

Turkey’s number of fatalities rose to 3,549, with more than 20,000 injured, according to Erdogan. In Syria, almost 1,600 have been confirmed dead, according to the Associated Press, including both government-and rebel-held areas.

Turkish stocks selloff deepens

Turkey’s benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index extended its slide to 7.8% as it resumed trading after triggering a second market-wide circuit breaker at 7%. Shares extended a selloff that started on Monday following the two major earthquakes, with 97 stocks falling.

The yield on 10-year government bonds surged 55 basis points to 11.57%, the highest level in 12 weeks.

Turkey orders resumption of crude oil flow to Ceyhan terminal

Turkey ordered the restart of oil flows to its Ceyhan export terminal on the Mediterranean, according to an official with direct knowledge of the matter. The state pipeline operator had halted flows as a precaution on Monday morning and gave the restart order after completing its checks, the official said, adding that flows would begin shortly.

Iraq hopes to resume pumping oil through Turkey on Tuesday afternoon after safety checks revealed no damage.

Turkey said it deployed a total of 24,443 rescue workers, 10 ships and more than 50 airplanes to pull victims out of damaged buildings and evacuate some of the injured from the disaster zone.

Oil prices were up on Tuesday partly due to a halt in exports from Turkey’s Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean.

The facility at Ceyhan serving Azeri oil will be shut on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tribeca Shipping, a port agent, said on Monday. It’s unclear if the rest of the terminal — including parts handling Iraqi flows — will also be shut for that period.

Iskenderun port blaze rages

Firefighters have been battling flames in a section of the Iskenderun port on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, damaging an area where there were a number of shipping containers, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

–With assistance from Firat Kozok, Beril Akman, Ugur Yilmaz, Tugce Ozsoy, Taylan Bilgic, Inci Ozbek, Kateryna Kadabashy, Demetrios Pogkas and Gina Turner.

Top photo: Smoke billows from Iskenderun Port as rescue workers work at the scene of a collapsed building in Iskenderun, Turkey, on Feb. 7. Photographer: Burak Kara/Getty Images

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