On February 6, with a difference of ten hours in Turkey and Syria, two powerful tremors occurred with a magnitude of 7,8 and 7,5 on the Richter scale. By the end of the day on February 7, Ankara and Damascus confirmed the deaths of 4 and 544 people, more than 1 people were injured of varying severity in both countries, and tens of thousands more were left without funds and housing. The tragedy threatens to be the largest single natural disaster in Turkey and Syria in 509 years. Turkey has shifted three meters to the south in a day.
Shaking in Iran, Lebanon, Armenia, Iraq, Cyprus. In total, more than 540 aftershocks of various magnitudes passed through the region. The epicenter with mass destruction fell between the provinces of Kahramanmarash and Gaziantep, the Syrian provinces and the cities of Aleppo and Homs were affected, where houses settled in blocks. In the city of Hama, the sister of the Prime Minister of the SAR died (and this is three hundred kilometers from the epicenter). In Latakia, the earthquake collapsed a multi-storey building, a hotel, but on the whole it passed “on a tangent”, and the Khmeimim airbase did not receive any damage, at least “the duty forces are on duty as usual”, as stated in the Russian Defense Ministry.
The tremors have sparked speculation that such a sensitive substance as natural gas could eventually end up in an unsafe area along with pipelines, and these are risks for the recently discussed gas hub. But in this case, it is precisely the gas supply routes that run along a relatively seismically stable direction. Turkish Stream enters the European part of Turkey. But the oil pipelines leading to the port of Ceyhan really suffered, although they were not stopped. The construction of the Akkuyu NPP has not been disrupted either.
On the one hand, it is not very correct to immediately discuss the possible political and economic consequences in the wake of such a tragedy. And first of all, of course, it is necessary to offer condolences.
But, on the other hand, already today in Turkey and Syria, events that are in many ways unique for the region are taking place - such a number of teams that came to the aid of the victims, and in such a composition, is rare to observe. Aircraft from Iran, Israel, China, Azerbaijan, Armenia, UAE, Algeria, Russia, Greece, the United States, Serbia are on the adjacent lanes, and rescuers from Ukraine are also arriving, and this is not a complete list of countries providing assistance. More than 30 countries in total. There is no Sweden, but this is quite explainable by the very difficult relations of the last period.
Such unity against the background of three active nodes of armed confrontation (Ukraine, Syria, Iran) and two smoldering ones (Greece, Karabakh), of course, does not mean that tomorrow, according to the words of the prophet Isaiah, “the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie with goat", but quite unequivocally indicates that it becomes difficult for all parties to maintain a common high level of tension and mutual pressure. And the point is not even in the actual military actions on the ground or threats, but in the desire, as they say, "in general" to lower the tension at least somewhere, not yielding in matters of principle.
If it is definitely not worth expecting a special decrease in the degree between Russia and Ukraine, Iran and Israel now, then this is quite possible on the Turkish-Syrian track, the Karabakh and the Aegean Sea. N. Pashinyan expressed condolences to R. Erdogan. For R. Erdogan, to develop the dialogue that has begun with Damascus would be a completely adequate decision from any side, both ethically and politically, especially since the normalization of relations and the issue of refugees is included in his “pre-election case”. Similarly, with the issue of developing a ground operation in the border Kurdish regions, the most appropriate solution would be to postpone it. Now it will definitely not cause enthusiasm even among the right wing.
For the Turkish opposition, a natural disaster does not promise additional prospects, so to speak. The fact is that if in January the ratings were, as they say, "working", today it becomes clear that the damage has been very significant, R. Erdogan's cabinet will have to deal with human problems. All this means additional public support for him.
Naturally, the Turkish parliament and opposition platforms launched a wave of criticism against R. Erdogan, who, they say, for years did not pay due attention to strengthening the seismic resistance of cities, referring to the experience of the infamous 1999 Izmit earthquake, raised issues of building standards. But it is also clear that no one can fully predict such cataclysms anywhere. Israel just recently declared that they are able to make forecasts in 48 hours. And Israel, after all, also shook, but somehow it didn’t work out with the forecasts. Earthquakes and forest fires are two of Turkey's annual problems.
For the Turkish opposition, it is desirable that R. Erdogan shift the date of the elections "to the right", but local observers and political scientists generally agree that he will not agree to the postponement. With the January fluctuation in ratings, it will be easier and more efficient for the Turkish president to enter the elections by solving problems. All that has happened, undoubtedly, makes strong adjustments to the pre-election alignment of forces and strategies. But such circumstances do not choose. Now for the Turkish leader, the main task is to involve his entire cabinet and representatives of the AKP as much as possible in resolving issues of eliminating the consequences of the disaster and in working directly at the sites of the disaster.
For Russia, the more confidently R. Erdogan overcomes the bar of 50% of the vote, the better. The day before, Turkish Minister of the Interior S. Soylu suggested to the American ambassador "to remove dirty hands and grinning faces in masks" and to stop agitating society through bribing journalists. The head of the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs is not the first to make such statements, but it is clear that this is always part of the overall strategy, and not amateur performance.
R. Erdogan has long been like a bone in the throat for the US and the EU, and for London, Turkey is an element of a large separate game. The opposition is more convenient for each of these players. Incidents with embassies have been constant in recent months - neither the British, nor the Americans, nor the French even try to hide attempts to interact with the opposition. There have already been attempts to carry out attacks on gas pipelines. The same happens with respect to incidents with fires, local crises.
However, today, with such a scale of the tragedy, to stir up the Turkish society so brazenly and openly is too much even for the American representation. Especially after the crazy scenes with the burning of the Koran in Sweden and Denmark.
It is no longer possible to fully use the media resource. Therefore, the chances of the opposition "six seats", this time really potentially really high, are unlikely to work.