Turkish restaurant owner reacts to deadly earthquakes

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:34 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - People in Syria and Turkey are still dealing with the aftermath of a 7.5 magnitude temblor that followed a 7.8 earthquake in the region on Monday, Feb. 6.

Here in Tucson, it’s been a bittersweet couple of days as many of the employees at The Turkish Grill House work to keep in touch with family back home.

“My cousins, many of them, even the kids, many of them did pass away. There were like 15 people,” restaurateur Halin Aslan said.

Just one month in business and many already call the restaurant on Prince Road a regular stop.

Aslan said the structures in Turkey aren’t strong enough for that kind of force. People don’t trust the foundation of their homes to keep them safe and are sleeping outside and in cars, just in case.

“After the earthquake, at the same time it’s snowing. In the south, it’s minus-30 degrees and everybody’s out and they are scared to go back inside, especially tonight. They will stay outside because it’s still happening,” Aslan said.

He’s been checking in with his family constantly, even being on the phone when the powerful aftershock hit just hours after the 7.8 earthquake.

“Even yesterday I was talking to my cousin and a 7.4 earthquake happened. They were screaming ‘God help us!’ It is really bad over there. He didn’t shut off the phone, but I was hearing them. It was like five minutes later that he answered me. They were scared.”

Thankfully, his immediate family is safe. But says he knows many people who have nothing left.

If you would like to donate to relief efforts, UNICEF is accepting donations for those in Syria and Turkey. You can donate here.