Creating new perspectives since 2009

Spain Defence Minister welcomes Turkish earthquake survivor family

June 21, 2024 at 7:10 pm

The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles (c), and the head of the military emergency unit, Francisco Javier Marcos (l), receive a family rescued by the EMU after the earthquake in Turkey in 2023, at the Ministry’s headquarters on June 21, 2024, in Madrid, Spain. [Photo By Alejandro Martinez Velez/Europa Press via Getty Images]

Spanish Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, on Friday warmly welcomed a Turkish family in Madrid, who had been rescued from the rubble in the Nurdagi district of south-eastern Gaziantep province by the Spanish Emergency Military Unit (UME) following the devastating earthquakes that hit southern Turkiye on 6 February, 2023, Anadolu Agency reports.

At the Ministry, Robles hosted Elif, her brother, Mahsun Salih and their mother, Leyla Yilmaz, who were rescued from the rubble of Ismet Coskun Apartment by UME in the earthquake zone.

She expressed her heartfelt sentiments, saying: “We are very happy to see you here. Spain is now your home, and you are part of our family.”

READ: Spain Premier: ‘Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe is seriously undermining international law’

Robles praised the courage, strength and resilience of the earthquake survivor mother and pledged ongoing support for the children’s education.

“We were excited when the children were rescued from the rubble, and today we are thrilled and excited to see them healthy and safe here in Spain,” she said, extending her gratitude to the UME personnel who risked their lives to save others.

Leyla Yilmaz, the mother of the rescued children, conveyed her deep appreciation, stating: “The Spanish people have always been a brotherly people to us, but this solidarity has increased even more after the earthquake. The Spanish soldiers who rescued my children are our guardian angels.”

The UME soldiers who participated in the rescue operations in Nurdagı reflected on the experience, calling the rescue “truly a miracle”.

They emphasised the collaborative nature of the effort, which involved many dedicated individuals. “We are now happy to see the children growing up and to get to know the family more deeply. We hope to see them here again in the coming years. If not, we will visit them in Nurdagi once more,” they added.

In the earthquakes centred in Kahramanmaraş on 6 February, 2023, 31-year-old Leyla Yilmaz, her 6-year-old daughter, Elif, and her 2-year-old son, Mahsun Salih, were rescued alive, 106 hours after the collapse of Ismet Coskun Apartment in the Yavuz Selim neighbourhood of Nurdagi district, Gaziantep.

OPINION: The Turkish earthquakes: Have the wounds healed?