Between February 14-16, 2023, the OTS delegation headed by Secretary General H.E. Ambassador Kubanychbek Omuraliev paid a solidarity visit to Ankara and the regions affected by the Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes.
During his visit to Ankara, Secretary General Omuraliev held bilateral meetings with Vice President of Türkiye H.E. Fuat Oktay, the Chairman of the OTS Council of Elders H.E. Binali Yıldırım, and Chief Advisor to the President of Türkiye H.E. Yalçın Topçu. During these meetings, Secretary General Omuraliev expressed his deep condolences for the loss of life due to the earthquake disaster, and stated that the OTS Member and Observer States immediately dispatched search and rescue teams to the earthquake zone and provided humanitarian and financial aid. The Secretary General drew special attention to the moral support and solidarity shown by the Turkic peoples who shared the pain of their brothers and sisters in Türkiye through social media messages.
Vice President Oktay, Chairman Yıldırım, and Chief Advisor Topçu thanked the Secretary General for his condolences and stated that the support and solidarity shown by the OTS Secretariat, the brotherly Turkic States and the Turkic peoples gives Türkiye strength to overcome these difficult days.
Secretary General Omuraliev also visited the Headquarters of the Directorate of Disaster and Emergency – AFAD Crisis Center, where he met with and conveyed his condolences to Minister of Industry and Technology H.E. Mustafa Varank, Minister of Labor and Social Security H.E. Vedat Bilgin, the Secretary General of the National Security Council, H.E. Seyfullah Hacımüftüoğlu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Yasin Ekrem Serim, Deputy Minister of Interior H.E. Tayyip Sabri Erdil, and Chairman of AFAD Mr. Yunus Sezer.
Throughout the deliberations held during the visit to Ankara, the parties emphasized the importance of support and assistance rendered by the OTS Member and Observer States with search and rescue teams, field hospitals, financial and humanitarian aid sent to the earthquake region; and most of all, the moral support provided by the brotherly Turkic peoples.
OTS Secretary General Omuraliev held contacts in Gaziantep, Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş and Hatay between 15-16 February, where he met with local officials of Türkiye, as well as the search and rescue, and medical teams from OTS Member States; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan.
During the support trip to the area, the OTS delegation visited the camps of search and rescue teams, tent cities and field hospitals that were built by OTS countries, as well as provincial Disaster and Emergency Directorate (AFAD) coordination centers where the delegation was informed about the situation the ground.
The OTS countries sent a total of 1706 search and rescue and medical personnel, 53 rescue dogs, nine field hospitals, more than 3.000 tons of humanitarian aid to the area affected by the earthquakes. The OTS governments and ordinary citizens donated over USD5 million to the people of Türkiye who are affected by the earthquake.
In addition to the emergency support personnel from the OTS countries, the Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Azerbaijani diaspora members, including students who currently study in Türkiye, rushed to help the search and rescue and relief efforts in the earthquake area.
Secretary General Omuraliev, thanked the search and rescue teams, health and other personnel from the OTS Member States, as well as the members of diaspora, for all their efforts and for saving so many lives in the earthquake zone, and noted that the Turkic world will continue to stand by and provide support to brotherly Türkiye and to the Turkish people in this difficult period of time.