HomeFitness'Time has stopped': Grieving father relives quake - Türkiye News

‘Time has stopped’: Grieving father relives quake – Türkiye News

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ANKARA

The photo of Mesut Hançer holding his dead daughter’s hand protruding from the debris, her body crushed, and his gaze lost, epitomized the anguish of the devastating Feb. 6 earthquakes.

They will return to the quake zone to commemorate the first anniversary and visit the grave of Irmak, who was killed in her sleep at the age of 15.

“A year has passed but time has stopped for us. This pain does not go away,” Hançer said, sitting in a living room whose walls are covered with photographs and drawings of his daughter.

“I don’t stop thinking about her for a minute,” added her mother, Gülseren.

The day before the disaster, Irmak had gone to her grandmother’s house to see her cousins, who had come over from Istanbul and the quake-hit province of Hatay.

She insisted on staying overnight, never imagining that nearly all the 22 high-rise buildings in her grandmother’s Ebrar housing complex would topple like a house of cards, killing 1,400 people.

By the time Mesut and his son Berkay, 23, were able to reach the scene, only piles of rubble remained.

They had to wait until daybreak to start looking for Irmak, clearing the debris with their bare hands.

Mesut only spotted his daughter’s lifeless body – still lying on her mattress between two heavy slabs of concrete – the next day.

“Seeing her like that hurt me so much,” he said.

Petrified with grief, he sat next to her in the ruins, holding her cold, pale, protruding hand.

Irmak was the youngest of his four children. Mesut did not know how long he sat there before seeing AFP photographer Adem Altan pointing the camera his way.

“Take photos of my child,” Mesut whispered to Altan.

The image struck a nerve.

It was picked up by world media, went viral online and was shared hundreds of thousands of times.

The Ebrar housing complex was built on unstable ground, using poor quality material and concrete that could be crumbled into little pieces by hand, according to the conclusions of a report by legal experts.

Two of the contractors involved in the construction rejected charges of willful negligence when they appeared in court for the first time earlier this year.

Mesut said he does not believe justice will ever be served.

Türkiye, february 6, Survivor, father,

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