An earthquake hit Turkey: Where is the state?

Ten of Turkey’s cities and their many districts are no more. Everything has crumbled and collapsed upon us. We do not know the number of people still trapped under the rubble in a region with a population of 15 million.

The world came crashing down upon us.

Ten cities and their provinces are no more. All of a sudden, everything crumbled and collapsed upon us. Houses crumbled. Giant buildings, plazas, hotels, business centers, shopping centers crumbled. Residential complexes, neighborhoods toppled.

Schools, kindergartens, preschools, hospitals, morgues, dormitories, police residences, garrisons, police stations, governorships, tax offices, city halls collapsed.

Roads, highways, viaducts, airports destroyed.

The second cold night after the disaster began.

No water.

No bread.

No gas.

No doctors.

No medicine.

No surgery, no ambulance, no fire brigade.

No tents, no heaters, no blankets, no mattresses, no coats.

“They’re on their way, they’re coming,” said Erdogan. Yet there are no containers, no trailers, no buses…

No electricity, no telephone lines, no chargers, no internet…

No rescue teams to save those left under the rubble.

No iron cutters, concrete drills, loader vehicles, bulldozers, or crane trucks.

No one to bury the bodies.

No disaster gathering centers, field hospitals, field kitchens.

As I write these lines it has been nearly 48 hours since the quake, and yet there are still not enough soldiers.

In an area with a population of 15 million, we do not know how many people are still trapped under the rubble.

We do not know how many of those who survived died from the cold, or how many more will.

We do not know yet the extent of the catastrophe that befell us.

There are places that we have not received any news from, the government is not there.

We were waiting to change, to transform, to attain a humane way of life, to unite with a government that exists for its people.

We were struggling to construct a social state, to hear each other once more, to be beacons of hope for our youth, to create better futures for our children. We were trying to rid ourselves of a system which had hit rock bottom, whose every institution was mired in corruption.

They did not listen to anyone. They did not take heed of any warning. The country, which they suffocated in construction and in which they gave freebies to contractors, was crushed under the concrete.

That country is no more.

How many people made it out alive, how much time we still have to save them in this wintry snow; we do not know. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people are in the disaster. Everyone is trying to fend for themselves, it is impossible.

Being far away had never made me feel so helpless. I do not know what good it would have done, but I would have wanted to be in my country.

My heart aches. The world came crashing down upon us.

We are in the hundredth year of the Republic.

There is no state to speak of…

*Hayko Bagdat was born in Istanbul in 1976, as the fourth child of an ethnic Greek mother and an Armenian father. After attending the Armenian schools Esayan and Mkhitaryan, he began studying history at Istanbul University in 1994. Due to the unexpected death of his father, he was unable to complete his studies. He began his journalism career in 2002 with a program on a radio station covering minority issues for the first time in Turkey, and worked as a journalist, columnist and commentator for Turkey's mainstream media. In 2007, Bagdat was among the founders of the "Friends of Hrant" group, which was formed after the murder of journalist Hrant Dink and that continues its search for justice. Bagdat's first book on being an Armenian and 'the other' in Turkey, Salyangoz (Snail) was published in 2014, his second book, Gollik, in 2015, and his third book, Kurtulus Cok Bozuldu, in 2016. His one-man stage performance "Salyangoz," based on his book, thrilled audiences in many cities in Turkey in 2016 and was subsequently acclaimed with tours all over the world. In 2017, Bagdat moved to Germany and continues to work as a journalist and producer in Berlin.

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