I lost seven relatives in the earthquake in Turkey

As the death toll rises after two massive earthquakes in southern Turkey and northern Syria, many in Scotland watch in horror.

A rescue operation is underway after Monday’s earthquakes, but aid agencies are warning of a growing humanitarian emergency in the region.

Meanwhile, Turkish and Syrian people living in Scotland are struggling to get in touch with relatives involved in the disaster.

Teyfik Kamber, chef of Eda Turkish restaurant in Glasgow, says he has lost seven family members in the Turkish city of Elbistan.

He has been unable to reach about 20 friends and family in the region and fears the worst.

“It was very difficult to talk to people,” the 60-year-old told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme.

“It’s been very difficult. You can’t say anything. The feeling is very, very sad and very difficult. So many villages waiting for the roads to open because there is a lot of snow.

“Yesterday we received some messages from members of the family and today we hear nothing from them.”

Tekin Esmer, a pub owner in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, already knows that his second cousins’ young children died after their home in Iskenderun collapsed in the earthquakes.

The 47-year-old is still waiting to hear whether several uncles and aunts have survived in the port city.

Tekin, who moved to Scotland 20 years ago, has been in contact with his two brothers and their families.

He said: “My brothers and their families are now on the streets – their houses are too damaged to go back in.

“Last night one of my brothers only had two blankets to keep seven of them warm. They have nothing and their houses are being torn down because they are unsafe. It’s cold there and it’s terrifying.

“I know my second cousins ​​are under a building – their children have been brought out dead and I’m waiting for more news. I can only assume they’re dead too.’


Tekin Emer also lost relatives in the earthquake

Tekin, who runs Waffles and Brew, admits he feels helpless now that he’s so far from the crisis, but hopes to do what he can from his cafe in Galashiels.

He added: “If I went there, what can I do?

“I feel useless to be here, but if I can help even a little bit, I’ll be happy – my customers put money in a donation box on my counter, and I put money from my earnings and put it into the fund as Good.

“Once I’ve sorted it out, I’ll try to collect clothes and blankets as well.”

Mahmut Tas (Akdeniz Supermarket Edinburgh)

Mahmut Tas is unable to contact his wife’s family in Kahramanmaras, Turkey

Mahmut Tas, who works at Akdeniz supermarket in Edinburgh, said he was concerned about his wife’s sister, her husband and their children.

He said they were unable to contact them or anyone else in Kahramanmaras in southern Turkey, where they live.

“I’ve been watching TV for two days, my wife is crying at home. It’s very bad. So many people have been affected,” he said.

Cafar Karahan

Cafar Karahan

Cafar Karaharn, who works at Turkish Kitchen in Aberdeen, said he has family and friends throughout the quake-hit region but has been unable to contact them.

“It’s very scary, heartbreaking and disturbing,” he said.

He expressed concern about sub-zero temperatures in the region, where many survivors are unable to return to their homes.

He said he hadn’t slept since seeing the first images of the earthquake’s devastation on television.

“Sitting and crying and just shedding tears… it’s not fun to watch people die in front of our eyes,” he said.


The search for survivors continues in Aleppo, Syria

Nadin Atkin, a Syrian who works at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC Scotland she arrived in Aleppo 20 minutes after the quake on Monday morning for a family visit.

“When I got home, the floor was rippling and shaking like jelly, so many people were walking on the street in their pajamas, house clothes, slippers with no jackets or warm clothes.

“We couldn’t sleep or eat for the last two days. We are in unstable and unexpected circumstances where we never know what will happen next. I have my bag with our passport, money… ready for any time we need to. to leave.”

Ms Atkin, who moved to Scotland from Syria in 2008, said people were left homeless and without food.

“Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed over the heads of the inhabitants. So many houses have become big graves,” she said.

“The international community and anyone wishing to send aid to the stricken region must allocate a fair share of that aid to the forgotten region.

“Aid must come in by air as soon as possible and land in northwest Syria as soon as possible. The opportunity has passed for those trapped under the rubble and for those who spent the last night outside in the cold and snow.”

British firefighters, including some from Scotland, are on their way to Turkey to assist in the rescue effort.

Meanwhile, a Scottish-Turkish charity has set up collection points in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews to collect donations for the earthquake victims.

The Association of Turkish Alumni and Students in Scotland (ATAS) arranged a plane on Friday to transport food, clothing and blankets to Turkey.

It said all kinds of donations were needed, but funding was the most important.

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