Victims of quakes in Turkey, Syria remembered on first anniversary

People in Turkey have mourned the victims of devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit the country and neighboring Syria one year ago.

The quakes struck on February 6, 2023, killing at least 53,537 people in Turkey and about 6,000 in Syria.

Authorities in Antakya, the main city of the southern Turkish province of Hatay, organized a commemorative ceremony on Tuesday to observe a moment of silence at 4:17 a.m., the time the first massive quake hit.

Mourners gathered at the city's central square despite early hours.

They tossed flowers into a river to pray for the souls of the victims and to renew their resolve for recovery.

A 50-year-old woman lost her sister and her sister's family. She said she still wakes up every morning feeling sad.

A 15-year-old high school student who lives with his family in their damaged home said he wants to continue to live in his hometown and help with recovery efforts.

During the ceremony, protestors continued to voice their criticism of the government for delayed recovery and for overlooking illegal sub-standard buildings. Their protests continued even during the silent prayer.