Erdogan Warns of Repeated Talks about Possible Destructive Quake in Istanbul

Buildings destroyed by the earthquake in the Turkish city of Hatay. (AFP)
Buildings destroyed by the earthquake in the Turkish city of Hatay. (AFP)
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Erdogan Warns of Repeated Talks about Possible Destructive Quake in Istanbul

Buildings destroyed by the earthquake in the Turkish city of Hatay. (AFP)
Buildings destroyed by the earthquake in the Turkish city of Hatay. (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that repeated talks of a potential destructive earthquake in Istanbul are spreading fear among the city’s residents.

Erdogan spoke during his interview with several Turkish TV channels Wednesday evening about the challenges that faced the government in convincing Istanbul residents living in houses built before the Marmara destructive earthquake in 1999 to demolish and reconstruct their houses.

Despite the challenges, the authority succeeded in changing the face of urbanism in many regions, and people started to apply for the demolition and reconstruction of their houses in other areas, added Erdogan.

Persisting talks about an expected destructive quake in Istanbul spread fear among citizens, with some starting to move from the city to other areas, said the President.

He added that up to 27,949 houses are under construction in several states - such as Adiyaman, Kahraman, Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Hatay, and Malatya - damaged by the Feb. 6 quakes. Construction of some rural houses is almost completed, and they would be handed out to their owners by summer.

Erdogan mentioned that the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change is carrying out the debris removal works, and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority is installing tents and establishing field hospitals.

“The scope of the destruction is unprecedented,” UNDP Türkiye Resident Representative Louisa Vinton told Anadolu Agency.

“This is why we expect equally unprecedented commitments from global donors.”

“Reconstruction is not just about bricks and mortar but also lives and livelihoods. People need secure employment to ensure a steady income, they need public services such as health care and education, and they need to be able to shop, relax and socialize with other people,” said Vinton.

“In short, they need to get back to normal life as soon as possible.”

The UNDP has proposed 31 projects that will contribute to the sustainable recovery of Türkiye's quake-hit southern region, she added.

The UNDP's 12 projects include ensuring sustainable management of debris, restoring waste management and water treatment plants, restoring cultural heritage, rehabilitation and restoration of natural assets and livelihoods, and building back better with near-zero emission structures.

The rest of the projects focus on supporting livelihoods and socio-economic recovery, leaving no one behind through targeted support to vulnerable groups, rehabilitating infrastructure, reintegrating the displaced workers into business, accelerating activity in the damaged areas, and boosting the economy.

The proposed projects also focus on strengthening legal protection and social support for persons with disabilities, increasing the psychological and social resilience of quake survivors and affected communities, and improving community resilience.

The organization is seeking $550 million in funding to implement the projects.



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
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NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.