From Armutlu Coordination Center…
Here is the Akdeniz Armutlu Coordination Center, established in the city of Hatay, which is one of the citites that have been most affected by the earthquake. We initially would like to share experiences on how this place was established. From the first moment of the earthquake, even though we did not have experiences to this extent, we knew that solidarity will keep us alive. Our priority was going to the buildings under wreckage saving our neighbors, relatives, friends, everyone we knew or didn’t know, anyone who we could hear, and reach. This had to be done in an organized manner because we neither had any equipment to break the walls nor to respond to the medical conditions of the people we rescued. We called for help. Our call was to all workers, health employees, construction workers, miners, anyone who would like to be a volunteer.
We all saw the unresponsiveness of the state from the first of the earthquake. We neither saw any AFAD team nor Red Cross that was building tents for the people who survived the earthquake. Those who overlook deaths by hiding behind lies of destiny are on the one side, those who collect supplies from every part of the country, volunteer and engage in actions are on the other side.
At the first morning of the earthquake, almost all of Antakya were unable to enter their houses. The cold weather of winter, shortage of food and clothes, were problems that confronted us and that we needed to solve in the long run. A boiling pot of hot soup in Defne Park In Akdeniz Neighborhood became the source of hope for the people here. With the calls that we made, volunteers from Ankara, Istanbul, Kocaeli and Antalya, and other cities arrived here.
We made a list of things that we needed to do to rebuild a city that was left under wreckage and we separated into teams. The area that in the first day was inhabited by a few volunteers and people who escaped the earthquake, became an area where life is recreated with the arrival of revolutionaries, construction workers, students, medical workers, and the press.
While we left aside a large group for the rescue operations, we established an area in few days that provides many essential necessities, including toilets, infirmary, dormitory, kitchen, and a kindergarten.
Our pot of soup that boiled for only 5 people in the first day turned into hot meals 3 times a day that is enough for 300 people by the 5th day. While during the first day we could only go looking for our friends and family, now we established a rescue team that can go to many neighborhoods of Hatay. While we did not even have one blanket, we became a center that can supply necessary items to villages where no aid was coming. We could today add extra toilets and showers to the toilet that we constructed with our own hands. While we had a small infirmary, now we are looking for ways to create our own ambulance. As those who were left on the streets with their pajamas on this cold winter day, we created a space where we have light and heating using generators we got out of destroyed supermarkets. Children who went through the shock of the earthquake now start returning to a normal life in our kindergarten where they can play games and make paintings during the day.
This life that we built at the Armutlu-Akdeniz Neighborhood in Hatay, today needs to be created in all parts of the earthquake zones. We all know that the state sees the peoples here as deserving death. We do not seek for the state because whoever has the wound has the cure. We cannot wait for the state who does not rescue people under the wreckage to build a life. Because if they come, they will only continue their profit-plunder system. It is the state, the Palace Regime itself who is responsible for the thousands of lives lost because of delays. The blood of our people is on the hands of the state, and we will never forget this, neither will we forgive.
It is all of our responsibility come together and spread the example that we build here against the system that caused hundreds of thousands of people to end of homeless. Repairing the damage that this earthquake has caused is within the hands of workers, students, medical workers, and peoples.
We showed that solidarity is the grace of the oppressed by organizing when we needed each other. We developed the things that we built in this process where we worked with all we had by coming together more and more.
This is our call to everyone from the Akdeniz-Armutlu Coordination Center; construction workers, miners, medical workers, engineers, teachers, workers from all sectors, students, women should come to the earthquake zones, set up coordination centers with people who survived the earthquake and plant the seeds of a new life starting with basic necessities. Each example that we create serves as an example for another earthquake zone.
It is our own arms that will save us!
February 10th 2023