Turkey's last Armenian village live in tents after earthquake, production halted

Turkey's last Armenian village live in tents after earthquake, production halted
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Most of the old stone houses have been severely damaged by the earthquake in Vakifli, and spring farm activities may not even begin because of the earthquake's impact.

The local administrator of the last remaining Armenian village in Turkey said that the Magnitude 6.4 earthquake on 20 February partially destroyed most of the buildings in the village, that they had to evacuate the children and elderly out of the village, and that the villagers are now staying in tents.

Speaking to Duvar's Anil Mert Ozsoy and Burak Karaman, village chief Berc Kartun said that the earthquake that struck two weeks after the twin earthquakes on 6 February caused significant material damage in the village of Vakifli.

Noting with gratitude that they received substantial aid from the Armenian community and the Armenian patriarchate in Turkey, Kartun said that the entire production has come to a halt after the earthquake.

"We go out to the orchards and the orchards weep, we go out to homes and homes weep. It's already spring now, but we cannot work. We don't have any strength left for work," he said.

Stressing that the city of Hatay (Antioch) is a center of civilizations and that communities of diverse ethnicity and religious beliefs live in the area, Kartun added:

"We're expecting the authorities to do what's necessary in order to restore back Hatay. We have to restore the historic places and give them back to people. We want our Hatay back."

Three fourth of the forty stone houses in the village have been severely damaged by the earthquake, Ozsoy and Karaman reported, adding that a women's cooperative of handmade products had to halt its activities after the earthquake.

Vakifli is some 5 km to the Samandag district in the border province of Hatay. The village is the single remaining Armenian rural settlement in Turkey, which was the native homeland of the Armenian people till the genocide in 1915.