August 10, 2010


11 years ago, on August 17, 1999 the northern Marmara Sea region was hit by a powerful earthquake, taking 10s of thousands of lives. It was a total disaster.

Istanbul, where I happen to live, felt the eartquake strongly but the devastation was not as horrible as the neighbour cities.

There is a highly strong belief that Istanbul gets hit by a powerful earthquake in like every 100 years and it is around time that the next one will come.

Now, in my personal opinion, the expected eartquake was already the one we felt 11 years ago, but many professionals don't agree so, claiming that the Istanbul-quake will be Istanbul-centered as it has been recorded for hundreds of years.

However though, i suggest that it must be the first time in history that the mentioned earthquake was measured by advanced technology, considering that the last one was more than 100 years ago. All the eye-witnessing symptoms are the same, only that the center of it is not in Istanbul as it was described in historical scripts.  And the thing is, the historical scripts claim that the quake was centered in Sultanahmet, which tuırns out to be a very unlikely place because there aren't any fault lines passing through there. BUT, Sultanahmet happens to be where the Ottoman Sultans lived, so it makes sense that they thought the center was in Sultanahmet.

So, i pretty much tend to think that we experienced that expected merciless earthquake 11 years ago.

Or maybe this is just an escapist thought. I don't know.

What I know is, that night was another hell of a hot night. I was awake, still working at 3:02 AM and I experinced every second of the devastation. That huge apartments building was bending with an incredible angle, making you think that it might collapse any time. 

Even years later, I was still alert with any sign of noise, not completely healed. And perhaps it is very recent that I start to forget about it.

Last night was an exception. Last night was another very hot night, without any winds blowing. Just like that night 11 years ago. I went to bed at around 2 AM, just before I went to sleep, I prayed Allah, something I rarely do. I asked Him to save us from any catastrophe or at least wake me up in time if the eartquake hits.

You know the drill, you tend to forget your nightly fears whan the morning shines. So I sort of forgot about my fears in the morning. My mind was pretty much occupied by the tasks I have to handle.

But however, we had some clients in the office today. And I heard one of them saying that "Last night I prayed to Allah to prevent an earthquake." You see, I am not the only one who feared last night.

So I just thought maybe I should share this with the world.


Ayak said...

I'll never forget the repercussions of that earthquake 11 years ago. We were living in Turgutreis, near Bodrum, and many people from the earthquake area were staying in their holiday homes in Turgutreis. There was so much anxiety as people queued to use public phones, desperately trying to contact family and friends, but of course the lines were down.

In the following months we had many refugees from the area and we set up a collection point for blankets, food and other household goods to help those people who had lost everything. A middle-aged couple moved into our apartment block. They had lost two houses, the one they lived in and one which was partly built for their retirement. But they were thankful to be alive.

I'm not religious so I don't pray, but I respect others' beliefs and it is rather a coincidence that you encountered someone else today who had prayed for the same thing last night.

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