February 6th, 2023 has gone down in history as the day of most catastrophic earthquake disaster for Türkiye. Although 11 of 81 provinces were affected, in reality, our entire country has been deeply injured. Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives, hundreds of thousands of people have been injured, families have been shattered. Many survivors, especially children, will have to go on with their lives with disabilities.
Earthquakes are more frequent and more destructive in certain parts of planet earth. Science ensures that the risky areas can be determined precisely. Although scientists do not know exactly when the earthquake will strike, they can predict its effects.
While the destructive effects of the earthquake can be calculated, the ways to minimize these have also been determined. If you live in an earthquake country, you have to trust the predictions and calculations of scientists and take precautions accordingly.
In the very recent past, the whole world has witnessed the importance and power of science closely during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the loss of life was very low in the countries that followed the recommendations of the scientists, others faced greater losses and suffering.
About a century ago, the founder of modern Türkiye, Atatürk, emphasized the importance of science with these words and never deviated from the guidance of science in everything he did as long as he was alive;
“Science is the only true guide for everything in the world, for civilization, for life, for success. Seeking a guide other than science is heedlessness, ignorance, and heresy. However, it is essential to realize the evolution of science and its stages in every minute we live, and to follow its progress over time.”
I wish that the predictions and suggestions of science will be followed with utmost care from now on in my country, which has experienced major earthquakes and major destructions before, and I hope that lessons can be learned from this enormous disaster.
In memory of my colleagues and people who lost their lives in the great disaster...
*Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Türkiye, 22nd September, 1924, Speech to teachers, Samsun.