The panel talk titled "Earthquake Zone Through the Eyes of Women" organized by Istanbul Kültür University (IKU) as part of March 8 International Women's Day celebrations, was held on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at Akıngüç Auditorium and Art Center.  The opening speeches of the event were made by our Acting Rector Prof.  Dr.  Fadime Üney Yüksektepe and Turkish Young Businessmen Association (TÜGİAD) Chairperson Nilüfer Çevikel.

In the panel talk moderated by TRT World Reporter Kübra Akkoç, individual experiences and first-hand impressions in the earthquake-effected area were shared by Demirören News Agency (DHA) Correspondent Gül Kaba, AKUT Disciplinary Board Member Gizem Erdoğan, Professional Mountaineer Hatice Erener from Istanbul Provincial Youth Sports Club, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) Community Mental Health Project Psychiatry Specialist Ebru Kaymaz and IMM Greater Istanbul Bus Terminal Human Resources and Administrative Affairs Chief Nalan Turan Ateşoğlu.


Making the opening speech of the panel talk, our Acting Rector Prof.  Dr.  Fadime Üney Yüksektepe remarked, “The whole country hopes that we will heal together.  Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle in our long-term healing journey is our prejudices. The esteemed speakers of the panel talk , who have, with their presences, professional careers, outlooks, and devotion in the field, showcased that solidarity, getting back up on our feet again, and working ought to go beyond the confines of gender roles, are the most important proof of this today.  Our guests' experiences, courage, diverse perspectives, observations and insights on the topic  will be greatly beneficial to our faculty members and will provide a good role model for our students. I hope that on March 8, International Working Women's Day next year, together we will initiate grander projects and give the women living in the 11 effected provinces the chance to voice their stories right here to be heard so that we can all witness their successes.”.


Nilüfer Çevikel, the Chairperson of the Young Businessmen Association of Turkey (TÜGİAD), said, “The 11 earthquake-effected provinces  are very strategic regions in terms of both business and geopolitics.  Many products are manufactured in the 11 provinces.  The supply chain hindered by the earthquake will directly affect our exports.  That exports are affected will in turn affect employment.  It was a terrible sight to behold when we visited the area, I haven't been able to sleep comfortably since coming back.  It was as if the apocalypse occurred.  For the survivors, life has to go on somehow. People in the region had to migrate, they need psychological support. It is an incredibly difficult situation, your home, your workplace falling into pieces. We will continue to aid the earthquake-effected region as much as possible. During the healing process, we need to be brave and go to the region to volunteer. I sincerely hope such a disaster does not happen again. But we must take precautions with the possibility that it might happen.”. 


 DHA Correspondent Gül Kaba said, "I saw the women holding their heads high in the field, no matter how hard their suffering was. The women were attending the tents and the greenhouses as if they were their homes. Despite their pain and trauma, I saw many women trying to make a home out of the tents. The women were supporting their traumatized children and spouses and were trying to move on with their lives somehow. I saw the women giving up on themselves and choosing to live for their children. They keep on going so that their children weren’t left hungry and cold. It made me very happy to see the women keeping their heads high, being brave and taking initiatives even while suffering tremendously. It made me proud. I sincerely hope we will not experience such a disaster again. Because the aftermath is heart-breaking. I hope we will recover and be even stronger.".


Kaba, who stated that they stayed in the car while they were in the earthquake zone, said, "It was most difficult for me not to have easy access to the toilet and bathroom. It was what wore me down the most psychologically. A hotel in Reyhanlı had allocated a room for the press members to take a bath. But, because the aftershocks continue, after you go there, you enter into the psychology of ‘not to be in a closed area’. I took a shower twice in eleven days. We would go into the hotel, take a shower and leave immediately. I don't want to complain too much about this because the problem of people there is still continuing. The earthquake zone is even more difficult for women. It was a good experience from a professional point of view, but I was challenged as a human being. I'm not that professional, I tried to act as coolly as possible. But especially after my return, the mourning in the region fell on me. When I was in the earthquake zone, I would report the news and leave. With the idea that the more people I reach, the more help will come, we went to a lot of villages as a team and tried to be the voice of everyone. The pain, fear, shock in people's eyes affected me a lot. I had a hard time from a humanistic point of view, and I am still struggling.”


Gizem Erdoğan, from the AKUT team, stated that AKUT's emergency action program was activated half an hour after the earthquake. She also used these expressions, “Our friends had started working from the office. Instant information flow was being provided from the region and action was being taken according to this information. These endeavours, such as how many teams would be sent, who would be sent, logistics materials, how they would be sent to the region, had been started. At the same time, a hotline was set up. I was called half an hour after the earthquake happened and we went to our logistics warehouse. We went to the military airport as a team. From there we landed in Incirlik with military cargo planes. Distribution took place from the region by being directed from here. I went to Iskenderun first. The first wreck I worked on was the wreck of the government hospital. I stayed in the area for 9 days. Our returns took place step-by-step. You continue to work with 2-3 hours of sleep a day. You lose the concept of the day. When you reach a living being, you go to another wreck. I was also on the listening team. I was listening to the incoming notices by picking the sounds." 


Professional mountaineer Hatice Erener from Istanbul Provincial Youth Sports Club said, "3 months ago, I went for mountain activities to the place that is currently an earthquake zone. I had a 3-day program. It was extremely painful to go to the region where I went for sightseeing purposes, and then because of such a disaster. I've lost so many friends. I was a field officer when I entered the wreckage. Everything I ate and drank for 2 days had been sent by volunteers. I observed that my female friends who were assigned with me in the wreckage were much stronger, much more resilient and courageous than my male friends. I am proud of all my fellows. I was working in a 7-storey wreckage, there was very intense damage. The heart wants to help everyone, but there is a certain system. It is difficult to try to help, to labor in such a psychology, I was proud of myself."


IBB Great Istanbul Bus Station Human Resources and Administrative Affairs Chief Nalan Turan Ateşoğlu also said, "As women working at the bus station, we have seen a war before, we welcomed people fleeing the war at the bus station. Then, unfortunately, we encountered this catastrophic earthquake situation. I want to talk a little bit as a woman and a mother about what we should do in the next process. All humanity remained under the rubble until the last earthquake victim was rescued. Unplanned urbanization, misfit of architecture, cutting of columns, missing materials, aside from all of these, in our opinion, the main factor is the lack of some contributions to the human feelings and morals of the people who made those constructions. While listening to the women in the earthquake at the bus station, we cried in a corner, they cried in the other. As women, we must first instill appropriate values in our children.".

Last Update Date: Mon, 03/04/2023 - 10:29