Turkish army remains mobilized for earthquake relief - M5 Dergi
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Turkish army remains mobilized for earthquake relief

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Defense Minister Hulusi Akar denied allegations of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) late response to the Feb. 6 deadly earthquake, highlighting the army’s tireless work in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe that hit provinces in Türkiye’s southeastern region.

Akar noted that the TSK is still working in coordination with other institutions to heal the wounds after the earthquake.

“These biased allegations that do not reflect the truth cannot be explained with good faith. The elements of the National Defense Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces mobilized from the very first moment with their soldiers, civilians, workers and technical personnel, and rushed to the side of those who needed help,” Akar said while addressing a videoconference in southern Hatay province on Monday.

“The first earthquake, the epicenter of which was in the Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş province, took place at 4:17 a.m. The operational centers of the general staff, land, naval and air force, as well as the Defense Ministry did what needed to be done quickly and requested reports from the troops at 4:30 a.m. At the same time, the Turkish Armed Forces Humanitarian Aid Brigade Command was ordered to ‘prepare,'” Akar explained.

“At 5 a.m., a Disaster Emergency Crisis Center was established as part of the National Defense Ministry. Simultaneously, the crisis centers started their work at the General Staff and Service Commands,” Akar noted.

He said Second Army Command units, already stationed in the earthquake-hit region, launched search and rescue work in coordination with the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) at 6 a.m. on Feb. 6, and one hour later, two military air ambulances were ready at an airport in Ankara to assist evacuation efforts.

He said they also deployed warships around the same time to the Gulf of Iskenderun, the nearest port for them for access to earthquake-hit provinces. He said a separate humanitarian aid brigade was dispatched to the disaster zone and three military cargo planes carrying personnel and relief material carried out flights despite heavy snowfall in the region. He noted a commando brigade was among the first responders in earthquake-hit Hatay. Akar said he traveled to Hatay a few hours after the earthquake.

He noted that flights and communication channels were disrupted due to weather but all elements of the army exerted efforts to bring relief and transport AFAD search and rescue crews to the disaster zone.

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