Quake aftermath: A battle for lost treasures

Quake aftermath: A battle for lost treasures
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Earthquake victim claims bank's negligence in protecting valuables from the rubble.

When the devastating earthquake hit on February 6, leaving the branch of a public bank in Muftuluk Square in ruins, Mustafa Buyukbalik's first thought was of his safe deposit box housed within. Box number 45, a small vault of family treasures, including precious jewelry, lay amidst the wreckage.

A treasure amidst the ruins

The bank authorities, upon recovery, assured Buyukbalik that his safe was intact. However, his relief turned to shock and disbelief when presented with damaged and seemingly incomplete contents. The missing and damaged gold triggered the beginning of a legal battle.

"They said they would not make any payment," Buyukbalik recalled the chilling words of the bank authorities after he reported the missing and damaged items. Despite the bank's assurances that the safe was intact, the reality, captured under the scrutinizing lens of a camera, told a different tale.

Echoes of betrayal

Buyukbalik's treasures were not just material but carried sentiments of family bonds and memories of milestones. His mother's jewelry, wedding gifts, and gold his father gifted him lay in the contested safe.

"There are 570 grams of gold, 80 whole, three-quarter gold that were not delivered to us, and the approximate value is 2 million liras," Buyukbalik disclosed.

A plea for justice

The saga took another turn when Buyukbalik contacted CIMER, airing his grievances and the bank's apparent betrayal. The bank's response, however, remained hostile, prompting legal action.

"In a box, we put in the safe deposit box, there was a gold set, a flow bracelet, and a pearl necklace," Buyukbalik explained, his voice carrying the weight of loss and betrayal. The bank's initial assurance that the safe was recovered intact has now become a haunting echo, starkly contrasting the damaged bag of partial treasures he was handed.