Turkey mourns tens of thousands dead, surrounded by the ruins of last year’s earthquake

ISTANBUL (AP) — Millions of people across Turkey on Tuesday will mourn the loss of more than 53,000 friends, loved ones and neighbors in the country’s catastrophic earthquake a year ago.

To mark what it calls the “Disaster of the Century,” the government has arranged a series of events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of disaster in southern Turkey.

In Antakya, the capital of the southern province of Hatay, a moment of silence and homage will be held besides the ruins of the 13th century Ulu Mosque at 4:17 a.m. – the moment the tremor struck.

Hatay, which lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Syrian border, was the worst affected of the 11 southern provinces hit by the 7.8 magnitude quake. Including the 6,000 people killed in neighboring Syria, the quake left more than 59,000 dead.

In Antakya people will throw flowers in the Orontes river that flows through the city and hear a local orchestra play “In the Wake of Those Who Have Left,” a composition created to remember the victims.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in Kahramanmaras, the earthquake’s epicenter, to inspect the work being done to rebuild the city and rehouse thousands of people who remain in tents and pre-fabricated containers.

He also will take part in handing over completed homes to survivors, and then spend the rest of the week touring other cities in the earthquake zone.

Opposition politicians also are vising the region en masse, with the Republican People’s party leader Ozgur Ozel attending the commemorations in Hatay before travelling to Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras.

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