Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kevin Cramer (R-ID), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing deepest condolences to and solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria and calling for robust humanitarian aid following the catastrophic earthquake and powerful aftershocks that hit the region February 6, 2023.
This Senate resolution calls on the United Nations Security Council to allow for additional border crossings from Türkiye into northern Syria for aid convoys, and urges the immediate cession of violence in northern Syria to allow full access for humanitarian aid organizations.
“The images and stories that continue to emerge from the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria last week are absolutely heart wrenching,” said Senator Merkley, a member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee. “As the death toll rises and the scale of the destruction becomes clearer, I am thinking of the families who lost loved ones and those who were injured. The devastation is heartbreaking and so many have lost everything. This resolution reaffirms the United States’ committed efforts to coordinate effective humanitarian aid to the impacted communities as quickly and robustly as possible.”
“Seventy years ago, a Turkish brigade joined the battle in Korea against advancing communist forces, fighting shoulder-to-shoulder alongside thousands of American service members. This heroic episode underscores the long-standing bond that exists between our two countries, a bond that has only deepened over the years through Turkiye’s role as a NATO ally and critical U.S. security partner,” said Senator Sullivan. “On behalf of the American people, my colleagues and I express our solidarity with the people of Turkiye and Syria who are recovering from the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has taken the lives of more than 40,000. We will also continue working to deliver much-needed disaster aid to save lives and help these communities recover.”
“My thoughts are with all those affected by the deadly earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria,” said Senator Feinstein. “The United States is supporting relief efforts, but there is much to be done. As one who has seen first-hand the destruction that these quakes cause, I am proud to join Senator Merkley’s resolution expressing the U.S. Senate’s condolences and offering support for those in the region.”
“I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Türkiye and Syria as they endure and navigate the aftermath of last week’s tragic earthquake,” said Senator Cramer. “Our resolution signals U.S. solidarity with Turkish and Syrian individuals and their families and commends ongoing efforts to provide them humanitarian aid and assistance.”
“The devastation and loss of life in Turkey and Syria are heartbreaking. Entire families and communities are torn apart as the staggering death toll continues to rise,” said Senator Durbin. “Our bipartisan resolution reaffirms our commitment to these nations who are grappling with the unthinkable right now, and we will continue to work in the Senate to provide the Turkish and Syrian people with humanitarian aid and assistance. They are resilient, and we will help them rebuild from this tragedy.”
The Senators’ resolution recognizes the February 6th earthquake as the most powerful earthquake—a 7.8 magnitude earthquake—recorded in Türkiye since 1939, with more than 100 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater registered by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This catastrophe has so far taken over 37,000 lives with thousands more reported injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.
This resolution calls attention to ongoing efforts from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), including a nearly 200-member Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Türkiye and financial support for USAID’s humanitarian partners to deliver urgently-needed aid for millions of people in Türkiye and Syria. The resolution further spotlights concerted efforts and support from individuals, businesses, and philanthropic and humanitarian organizations across the United States and throughout the international community to the people of Türkiye and Syria.
This bipartisan resolution commends the efforts and honors the sacrifice of the men and women engaged in the humanitarian response on the ground in the affected regions of Türkiye and Syria, and further shows support for the efforts of the United States Government in its coordination of immediate and effective inter-agency humanitarian support. Furthermore, the resolution urges the United States Government to continue to provide emergency relief and reconstruction efforts in Türkiye and Syria and encourages efforts by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Allies to assist Türkiye by providing search-and-rescue teams; firefighters and structural engineers; medical personnel and supplies; and technical experts.
Full text of the resolution can be found here.