Our hearts and minds remain heavy with the continuing impact of the earthquakes and aftershocks that have devastated Turkey and Syria since the first earthquake hit on February 6, 2023. As of February 24th, over 50,000 people have been counted among the dead.
Knowing that we have colleagues who call the impacted region home and whose work is centered in Syria and Turkey, we, as a professional society and group of concerned individuals, want to respond. There are at least 35 AFS members who reside in Syria and Turkey and more whose folklore work focuses in the region. We are keeping them in our hearts as they and their communities navigate this devastation. AFS Executive Board member, Meltem Türköz, who teaches at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and whose work focuses on Turkish folklife, had the following to share: “So many souls gone and such sorrow. Cities are gone and will have to be rebuilt. The circles of local and cross-regional solidarity are tremendous. Many people I know from my community were search and rescuers. I’d been wanting to train, but now will definitely do so since it’s very seismic in Istanbul.”
There are many ways we as independent members can lend our support. AFS recommends the following to support earthquake relief:
- Research Institute on Turkey–(a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization in New York State, USA. EIN: 81-4004031) is a grassroots research cooperative based in New York City. Connected to family and other networks in Turkey–this network’s donations will be sent to transparent and accountable organizations that work on the ground. https://riturkey.org/fundraising/
- The Aftershock Collective (https://www.instagram.com/jarolimgayri/) is a grassroots group based in the SF Bay Area made up of immigrants, friends and activists from around the world that came together to organize in response to the devastation of the earthquakes in Syria, Turkey and Rojava on February 6th, 2023. This collective will be channeling their donations directly to accountable and transparent aid groups in Turkey and Syria.https://www.gofundme.com/f/earthquake-relief-turkey-syria-2023?member=24989475&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_content=undefined&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer&utm_term=undefined
- Ahbap is a reliable, transparent, and on-the-ground organization in Turkey: https://ahbap.org/
- Project Aman Advocates for LGBTQ+ refugees in the region and is fundraising for those affected by the earthquake in Turkey: https://www.amanproject.org/
- The Boğaziçi University International Community has set up a page to raise money for university students directly affected by the earthquakes in Turkey: https://gofund.me/dd1a72f5
- Concern Worldwide, an Irish charity is very much on the ground in the cities directly affected in Turkey and Syria https://www.concern.net/
- For Syria, the White Helmets are on the ground rescuing people and distributing aid: https://www.whitehelmets.org/en/
- Nuday Syria is a US-based nonprofit and they get logistical support from White Helmets on the ground: https://www.nudaysyria.org/
- Konuşmamız Gerek/We Need to Talk Association is an organization focusing on menstrual hygiene and period poverty within Turkey: https://konusmamizgerek.org/en/we-need-to-talk/
- Hundreds of non-human companions are stranded, or separated from their owners. For information, or to support PETA’s efforts: https://www.peta.org.uk/blog/turkey-syria-earthquake/
- The International Rescue Committee provides emergency kits, water, and support for families displaced by the earthquakes.
- https://bettershelter.org/ This is an organization that is supported by the IKEA foundation and brings safe, healthy, and dignified living environments for people affected by disaster and conflict. They have already brought 5000 units to Turkey but are seeking donations for more. https://bettershelter.org/help-us-support-families-in-turkiye-and-syria/
If you have a resource you would like to recommend, you may send it to [email protected].
Since the regions impacted by the ongoing earthquakes and aftershocks will face years of recovery and rebuilding efforts, we will periodically update members about evolving ways that you can support that work.
The AFS Executive Board
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