False: A light was seen in Turkish skies moments before the massive earthquake struck.

By: Vivek J
February 14 2023

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False: A light was seen in Turkish skies moments before the massive earthquake struck.


The Verdict False

A satellite launch clip from 2022 in Kazakhstan has been falsely attributed to be from Turkey moments before the earthquake in February 2023.

Claim ID 5e7318eb


The earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023, was the worst in over a decade. According to the latest reports, at least 33,000 people are confirmed dead, and thousands more missing. Search and rescue work is underway with the help of local authorities and international rescue teams from various countries. 

In the wake of this massive earthquake and successive aftershocks, several pieces of misinformation have flooded social media platforms. One such post that went viral on TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook contained a video claiming that a strange light appeared in the Turkish skies moments before the earthquake struck in the early hours of February 6. A caption on one such post read, "People in Turkey saw this strange light in the sky right before the earthquake." However, this is incorrect. 

In Fact

Upon closely analyzing similar posts with the video across social media platforms, we found a link to a Twitter post dated October 7, 2022. This post contained the same video, and according to the caption, was from Baikonur in Southern Kazakhstan. 

Taking cues from the October 2022 post, we looked for incidents in Kazakhstan and came across a report by a Belgian radio and television provider in French titled Radio-télévision belge de la Communauté française (RTBF), dated January 29, 2023. This report confirmed that this video was from a satellite launch in Kazakhstan. RTBF also compared Google images of the location in the video to prove that the video in question was recorded in Kazakhstan.

An article by a Kazakh news portal TengriNews, dated September 21, 2022, first shared the visuals that are being linked to the 2023 earthquake. While the article said that the visuals had sparked various claims, it added that the visuals could have been from the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft from Baikonur on September 21.

An article by AP News dated September 22, 2022, confirms that the Soyuz spacecraft launch, and adds that it successfully sent three new crew members to the International Space Station (ISS). The crew members were Frank Rubio, an American, and two Russians, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin. The names of these three crew members were also mentioned in the TengriNews article. 

The 2022 TengriNews article also shared clippings of similar videos from nearby locations. This shows that the visuals are from 2022, and cannot be linked to the 2023 earthquake.

The Verdict

A rocket launch sent three crew members to the ISS on September 21, 2022, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A video of this launch filmed in Kazakhstan has been shared, claiming to be that of some mysterious light seen in Turkey moments before the February 2023 earthquakes. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before