Woman calls locals of quake-hit Hatay back to their hometown

Woman calls locals of quake-hit Hatay back to their hometown

Ece Çelik - HATAY
Woman calls locals of quake-hit Hatay back to their hometown

A woman from quake-hit Hatay has formed an association called “We are here, Hatay” (“Buradayız Hatay” in Turkish) to encourage their relatives and neighbors to back to their hometown.

As the southern province of Hatay suffered the worst damage in the earthquakes on the night of Feb. 6, approximately 700,000 people migrated to other cities.

However, Derya Gümüş Türkoğlu, one of the quake survivors in Hatay, wanted to turn their hometown back to its glory. Therefore, Türkoğlu and a group of people on social media founded the “We are here, Hatay” association to show the locals who have fled the city that they should return to their homes to accomplish this.

“People left this city out of desperation. We know that our locals will return to their city when they find the opportunity, but we needed to do something to speed this up,” said Türkoğlu, explaining the idea behind this project.

Stating that the locals of Hatay value their cultural assets such as their own way of making the traditional Turkish coffee, Türkoğlu said that when her brother posted on social media that a coffee shop has returned to business after the quakes, they received hundreds of messages from local people saying that they miss it so badly.

“It is the small details that make us who we are. We started sharing these details to show people that life is slowly sprouting in Hatay again,” Türkoğlu said.

Explaining that people got more hopeful when they saw that some shops had opened again, Türkoğlu said their core belief is Hatay’s full recovery will begin with the recovery of trade and education.

She noted that through social media, the association acts as a bridge between philanthropists and the local tradesmen, and if they manage to make tradesmen return to the city, they can create an environment that will encourage locals to return as well.

As a team of 20 people, Türkoğlu added that they would also like to revive the educational institutions and courses outside of schools associated with the Education Ministry.