Thousands of people were killed after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and resulting aftershocks devastated the region, impacting northern Syria and southern Turkey.
Weeks later, a team of Peta rescuers found a lost cat in Hatay – located about 100 miles away from Gaziantep, the earthquake’s epicentre.
The team then transported the grey cat, who was scared and hungry, to a veterinary clinic in Adana.
“Thanks to his microchip, we discovered that his name was Behlul,” Peta said, in a video about tracking down the cat’s family on Twitter.
It was the microchip that led the team to Behlul’s family and his guardian Elif, who was staying in Antalya with her grandparents when the earthquakes occurred, according to a report by Metro.
While Elif’s father Kadir Karahan and uncle managed to rescue the 16-year-old, who was found buried under rubble over 24 hours after their house succumbed to the earthquakes, her grandparents were among the victims who died.
Behlul was nowhere to be found, with a reunion looked unlikely, Peta claimed.
However, three weeks after the tragedy, Peta vice-president Mimi Bekhechi called the family up on FaceTime, who were “overjoyed to see Behlul safe and sound”.
Still on crutches and recovering from her injuries, Elif picked Behlul up from the vet’s office, where the cat he is now safely back with his family.
Bekhechi told Metro: “This work involves many dark and difficult moments, and many stories don’t have happy endings, but I will never forget the joy on their faces and Behlul’s purr upon being reunited with his beloved Elif.”
Karahan thanked the animal rights organisation in a tweet, expresing gratitude for bringing “our son” back home.