Countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia expressed their condolences and showed solidarity with Ankara on Monday as a strong earthquake hit southern Türkiye earlier in the day.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of the loss of life and destruction as a result of the severe earthquake that occurred in Kahramanmaras, and felt in many parts of brotherly Türkiye,” Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in a condolence message to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Aliyev called Erdogan later in the day, saying Azerbaijan shares Türkiye’s pain and that a rescue team consisting of 420 people has already been sent to the country and will start working together with Turkish authorities as soon as they arrive.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov also conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquake to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu during a phone conversation, according to a statement by the ministry, noting that rescue forces consisting of 370 people will depart for Türkiye to support search and rescue operations.
In a later statement, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said that a search and rescue team consisting of at least 400 people is traveling to Türkiye for assistance.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also sent a message of condolence to Erdogan, according to the country’s presidential press service Akorda.
“It is with deep sorrow that I received the news of the death of a large number of people as a result of a powerful earthquake in the Republic of Türkiye. At this difficult moment, on behalf of the people of Kazakhstan and on my own behalf, I express my condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the entire fraternal Turkish people,” Tokayev said.
The statement also noted that Tokayev also offered assistance to Türkiye.
Elsewhere, the Georgian Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing Tbilisi’s condolences to Türkiye and its people.
“We are truly devastated by the news of a deadly earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Türkiye. We extend our sincere condolences to the government and people of Türkiye and wish a speedy recovery to all affected,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev also sent condolences to Erdogan on behalf of his country, according to the Uzbek presidency, which also noted Mirziyoyev conveyed “words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery to the victims.”
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry also released a statement expressing its condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, further wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.
Later, Press Secretary to the Uzbek President Sherzod Asadov announced on Telegram that humanitarian aid will be sent to Türkiye, in addition to a group of rescuers from the Ministry of Emergency Situations to participate in search and rescue operations.
“As of 11:00 a.m. (0600GMT) on Feb. 6, 2023, the diplomatic missions of our country in Türkiye have not received any information about dead or injured citizens of Uzbekistan as a result of the earthquake,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Jeenbek Kulubaev sent a letter of condolence to Cavusoglu, initially released by the Kyrgyz Embassy in Ankara.
“I was deeply saddened by the news of the earthquake that occurred in several provinces of Türkiye. I express my condolences to the families and relatives of those who lost their lives, wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured, and wish the Turkish people to get out of the current difficult situation as soon as possible,” the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also expressed condolences to the families of the earthquake victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured, adding that Yerevan is ready to provide assistance.
Separately, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sent condolences to Erdogan on behalf of himself and the Belarusian people, according to a statement by the Belarusian presidency.
At least 912 people died and 5,385 more have been injured after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck at 4.17 a.m. (0117GMT), centered in the Pazarcik district of Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaras, according to the latest official figures.
There were 78 aftershocks after the earthquake, and the adjacent provinces of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis provinces were also heavily affected.
Later on Monday, a new 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck southern Türkiye, which was centered in the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras, AFAD said.