Turkey’s real earthquake magnitude, its awe inspiring RESILIENCE

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As I wait for the pain of this week to turn to wisdom I write…

More than 33,000 people are now known to have died after Monday’s earthquakes in southern Turkey and northern Syria. 

With Millions displaced we are now looking a disaster that will enter the humanitarian phase of the rescue operation.

As I write this a 14 year old has just been pulled from the rubble 150 hours after the earthquake. ‘You are a miracle’ shout the AFAD rescue workers.

The pain in my country is unspeakable.

The tears I have shed this week countless.

 What is speakable is the sheer monumental resilience we have seen unfold before our very eyes. 

Individual, collective and systematic awe inspiring resilience and care.

During the 1999 Istanbul earthquake in Turkey I was at CNN breaking news, my family and community were deeply hit and the emotional toll of bringing breaking news was high.

So it’s been a tough week of flashbacks and relived sorrow.

But 20 years on as I watch thousands of volunteers, former CNN colleagues, countless journalists, medics, nations, societies around the world come together in action it also brings me joy and hope for my country and even the greater global collective.

Everyone in the region is currently operating in the Red ZONE of resilience. This is the zone of resilience where the challenge is immensely high and the capacity for resilience low.

But as they operate from this space of being ‘over the edge’ we are witnessing a phenomenal amount of resilience emerge.

There is an unprecedented level of purpose and integrity rising as individuals, countries, government and companies adapt to this enormous tragedy, by putting aside differences to unite in collective resilience.

After all isn’t resilience really all about the psychological ability to let go of internal old structures of thinking and behaving that over the years have given us a ‘sense’ of stability and coherence – that in fact isn’t no longer serving us?

This level of monumental unspeakable challenge is where transformational resilience truly happens.

Resilience is a set of conditions that allow individual adaptation to different forms of adversity at different points in lifes course. It is the capacity of a system, enterprise or a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances.’


We are witnessing it’s core principles in action:

Hope: Despite hope fading that there will be survivors rescued from the rubble, moments of miraculous rescues are still emerging from the region through the sheer optimism and belief that miracles are possible.

Mental agility and flexibility: The colossal effort to come together and find previously unimaginable logistical solutions to getting help and aid to those in need, thinking around limitations to create possibility and resolution.

Emotional regulation and agility: How those in the unbearable pain of loss and those volunteering in the gravest of conditions are able to express their feelings, let them flow, lean into the support around them, then regulate them once again in order to act – whether that’s getting back into the rubble to keep digging, treat the wounded or the hardest of all finding a grave for their lost loved ones.

Intrinsic motivation: The innate ability of individuals, societies or socio-economic systems to cope with the sudden impact of this disaster to restore as quickly their ability to function and act for the wellbeing of others. Real grit and a sense of purpose that sits at the core of motivation and brings forth resilience.

Connection: Despite the differences between people, regions or countries normally at loggerheads, we are seeing these differences cast aside and a colossal unification of strength and speed in the recovery effort. The connection and collaboration that is happening on an international scale is of monumental proportions.

This incredible level of resilience refers to our ability to create and reintegrate new structures of thinking and behaviour that provides us with a deeper sense of coherence.

Through a greater sense of hope, optimism, belief in our own mental and emotional agility and deepened connections, relationships and collaborations we can enter transformational growth of unthinkable proportion.

Turkey, as a country, has faced years of political dictatorship that has crippled its sense of togetherness, unity and harmony. Resulting in lost peace, resolve and collective courage.

A population of 35 non-ethnic Turkish cultures once lived comfortably with differences but over the years is has become fractured, divided and polarized. Causing us to lose our identity of a country in harmony.

So, I believe this may very well be the turning point:

  • It will rekindle the unity, and togetherness Erdogan has managed to take away from us – UNTIL NOW,
  • It will strengthen the defiance in people to regain the real influence over how they should be governed,
  • It will remind us that we get to have a vision for our country and pursue it,
  • It will remind us of our strength which will give us the courage to fight back and stand for the transformation we want to see,

…….and with a bit of luck see the end of Erdogan, who has managed to fracture Turkey on so many levels from economic policy, secular politics to international relations.

As I watch the resilience unfold in my country I am deeply moved, inspired and called into greater purpose and grit.

We  should all be – individuals, communities, companies and government, where ever we are and what ever our mission may be.

When we focus our attention to those who’ve got back up after the hardest of falls, it encourages us to do that too. Inspiring stories of recovery expand our sense of possibility.

They remind us that even when all seems lost, we can still be surprised by the incredible capacity of life, including the life within us, to regenerate back or forward.

Despite the pain that is unspeakable I truly believe we will pull through. Turkey and hopefully Syria will bounce forward, transform and improved growth in the countries will occur.


We are seeing such a unified effort to support this effort, UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) an umbrella body of 15 UK charities has said it’s seen an “incredible” response to its Turkey-Syria Earthquake appeal, with more than £30m raised in one day. ‘’The number of people who need support are far exceeding what people can deliver now, and that’s why we’re appealing for funds – to scale up so we can reach more people who are in desperate need.”


Resilience is a collective act, so please keep giving, we need you, we all need each other.

‘The rising tide lifts all ships’




Thank you for reading thus far….


Much love, hope and togetherness.









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