It is common for Türkiye to witness earthquakes because its geographical location makes it a hotbed of seismic activity. Still, the new thing that occurred at dawn on Monday was the destructive force of two earthquakes that struck the transcontinental nation, in addition to numerous seismic aftershocks.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake had hit Türkiye’s southeast, hours later another 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit its center. These earthquakes and their aftershocks were felt by several countries in the Middle East.
A few days ago, many specialists predicted these earthquakes happening in Türkiye.
Farouk Okakoglu, a geological engineering professor at the Eskişehir Osmangazi University, said that in seismically active regions such as Türkiye, scientists have statistical models to study the frequency of earthquakes.
Experts can approximate which region will be witnessing earthquakes and they can predict the quake’s strength.
“The expected magnitude was no more than 7.1:7.3 magnitude, which is six times weaker than what happened,” Okakoglu told Asharq Al-Awsat about the recent earthquake that hit both Türkiye and neighboring Syria.
“These two large quakes were completely unexpected for domestic and foreign seismologists,” he explained.
Okakoglu defended the work of seismology experts in Türkiye but said that what had happened proves that the science is still in its “crawling stage.”
According to international studies, about 98% of Türkiye is exposed to earthquakes. About a third of the country is at high risk, including the areas surrounding main cities like Istanbul and Izmir.
In Türkiye, people use the word “coğrafyakaderdir” to denote “the destiny of geography.”
Sherif Al-Hadi, head of the earthquake department at the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), explains to Asharq Al-Awsat that most of Türkiye is located on what is known as the “Anatolian tectonic plate.”
“This plate lies between the Eurasian and the African-Arab plates, and leaves Türkiye standing on several fault lines,” said Al-Hadi.