By: Annie Priya
February 14 2023
An image from the aftermath of the 1999 Turkey earthquake has been falsely linked to the 2023 earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
A major earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it was a 7.8 magnitude quake with a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles). The following days saw multiple aftershocks, and thousands of buildings collapsed in both countries. According to the latest report by the New York Times, the death toll has crossed 35,000, and millions of people have been left homeless.
Many old and unrelated images were linked to the recent quake after the incident. One such photo shows an older man standing in front of the wreckage of a building, holding bread and wiping his tears. A user shared this viral image on Twitter, linking it to Turkey and the February 6 earthquake. It has garnered more than 2,500 likes and has been shared on Facebook, YouTube, and other news media outlets.
However, the image was captured after the 1999 earthquake that hit Düzce, Turkey, and is unrelated to recent events in the country.
A reverse image search led us to an article by the Turkish news website Anadolu Agency (AA), which used the same image. The report was published on November 11, 2019, and the photo is attributed to the photographer named Abdurrahman Antakyali. The image caption spoke about two devastating earthquakes in Turkey, one on August 17, 1999, and the other on November 12, 1999. The article stated that the older man seen in the photograph was carrying bread in his arms to hand out to earthquake victims. Another Turkish news website, Star, published the same image on August 17, 2020, in a report about unforgettable photos from the August 17, 1999 earthquake. This indicates that the picture is not recent but has been in circulation since 1999.
We then searched for the photographer who captured this image in 1999. Abdurrahman Antakyali is a photographer with Turkey's photography agency, Depo Photos. The now-viral image was published on his Instagram account on November 12, 2014, long before the recent earthquake in Turkey. The caption to the photograph is written in Turkish and reads, "It's been 15 years since I took this photo in Düzce / Kaynaşlı... in the chaos of the rush to send the film to Ankara, I didn't even get his name. Years later, his grandchild called me and said 'You took a photo of my late grandfather after the earthquake - could we get a printed copy from you?' and that was how I finally learned his name. Rest in peace Uncle Eşref ... " Kaynaşlı is a town in the Düzce province of Turkey, which was near the epicenter of the 1999 earthquake. We also found a video of Antakyali sharing his experience capturing the older man with the Turkish news channel A Haber on January 27, 2020. This confirms that the picture being shared now is over 15 years old and was captured in 1999.
The photo from the 1999 Turkey earthquake is being shared with a false claim linking it to the 2023 earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.