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Turkey marks anniversary of deadliest earthquakes in its modern history

A year on, survivors of Turkey’s massive twin earthquakes gathered across the impact zone encompassing 11 provinces to commemorate their loved ones.
Relatives of missing persons hold placards and a banner with their portraits at the Hatay Earthquake Martyrs Cemetery, during a gathering marking the first anniversary of a powerful earthquake that hit the region, in Antakya, southern Turkish Hatay Province, on Feb. 6, 2024.

ANKARA — Vigils, memorials and prayers were scattered Tuesday across Turkey’s 11 provinces that were struck by two major earthquakes exactly a year ago — as Turkey marked the deadliest humanitarian disaster in the country's modern history.

In the country’s southeastern province of Hatay, one of the worst hit by the quake where at least 22,000 people died, thousands gathered in the day-long ceremonies, with some traveling to the province from other places for the event. 

The sentiment was a mixture of grief and anger toward both government and opposition party officials who are touring the quake zone. 

Turkey’s health minister, Fahrettin Koca, main opposition leader Ozgur Ozel and Hatay Mayor Lutfu Savas were all booed during a vigil held at dawn on Tuesday. Savas hails from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and his renomination for the post in the upcoming March local polls has prompted fury among the province’s residents.

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