IDF Rescue Operation in Turkey

18 August 1999

Reinforcement Team To depart For Turkey

A reinforcement team will depart today (18 August) at 14:00 from an IAF base in Israel and will join the Homefront Command rescue forces present in the city of Golcuk, in Turkey.
The team will leave following assesment of the situation in the field by the team commander, Maj. Gen. Gabi Ofir.

19 August 1999

Third IDF Humanitarian Mission Arrives In Turkey

The third IDF Humanitarian mission has landed in Istanbul, Turkey.
The IDF mission is preparing to leave for Adapazari, where the IDF’s field hospital has been set up. Deputy Minister Of Defense, Efraim Sneh, Praises IDF Rescue Forces In Turkey

“You are the pride of the State of Israel”, said the Deputy of the Minister of Defense, Efraim Sneh, to the members of the IDF Search and Rescue Mission in Turkey.
Mr. Sneh met with commander of the Turkish Rescue Forces, who approved the transfer of heavy engineering equipment for the use of the Home Front Command Rescue Forces, to improve the capabilities of the rescue teams in the site where Israeli civilians are trapped.
GOC Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Gabi Ofir, briefed the Deputy Minister of Defense regarding IDF activity in the Gulcuck and additional sites where the rescue forces are operating. Mr. Sneh praised the activity and dedication of the force.

20 August 1999

Home Front S&R Team Saves Another Child From Rubble

A short time ago, the Home Front search and rescue team saved the life of an eleven year old Turkish child that had been trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building in the city of Cilencik, Turkey.
The child had been buried under rubble caused by the earthquake for a period of four days.
The staff of the search and rescue team worked non-stop for 17 hours to save the child who is now receiving medical attention on the spot and will then be evacuated to hospital. IDF Field Hospital Becomes Operational

The IDF field hospital in the city of Adapazari, Turkey, will become operational this afternoon (20 August) and will start treating victims of the earthquake.
The hospitals medical staff will work in full cooperation with the Turkish medical teams. There is a helicopter landing platform in the vicinity of the hospital that the Turkish Air Force will use to bring the injured to the hospital as quickly as possible.

21 August 1999

IDF Rescue Team Praised For Its Work And Dedication

The Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army visited this afternoon (21 August) the Home Front Command rescue teams in the Golcuk site. The Chief of Staff expressed his great appreciation to the Israeli rescue team and requested to thank the IDF Chief of the General Staff, LTG Shaul Mofaz, for the assistance and the dedicated work of the Israeli teams.
The Turkish Chief of Staff noted the rescue of the Israeli child, Shiran Franko, after five days of being trapped under rubble, and said that this was further evidence to the unbelievable.
At the end of the fourth day of operation, the Home Front Command team rescued nine trapped victims, and recovered dozens of bodies from the rubble.
More than 150 people, some of whom were injured in the earthquake, were treated so far in the IDF hospital, built in the city of Adapazari. In addition to the regular treatment provided, the medical team performed nine surgeries and delivered three babies.
During the past weekend, the Turkish Minister of Health, the Israeli Ambassador to Turkey, and members of the Turkish Parliament, all visited the IDF hospital. Search and Rescue Unit Saves Israeli Girl From Rubble

A short while ago, the Home Front search and rescue unit located and saved a 10 year-old Israeli girl from a collapsed building in Cilencik, Turkey.
The girl spent some 100 hours trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building.
The search and rescue unit, in the course of their work on the collapsed building, heard a noise and stopped all work. Her cries for help led the team to the child, and they managed to remove her from the rubble within less than an hour.
The girl was given medical treatment by doctors from the IDF medical team and was then evacuated to hospital for further medical treatment.
The search and rescue unit is continuing their search for further victims.

22 August 1999

IDF Rescue Team Saves A Woman in Turkey

The Home Front Command search and rescue team, along with Belgium and Turkish rescue teams, rescued a woman who was trapped under the rubble of a building in Cirencik in Turkey, approximately 135 hours after the earthquake.
The woman was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital nearby for medical treatment. Home Front Command Rescue Team Completed Its Mission At Two Sites In Turkey

The Home Front Command Search and Rescue Mission to Turkey has completed this afternoon (22 August) its work at two sites in the Turkish naval base in Golcuk.
The Israeli forces rescued two people and recovered 102 bodies at these sites.
In addition, the mission rescued five people at sites near the base.
The rescue forces are currently working at various other sites outside the naval base, in the city of Golcuk.

23 August 1999

IDF Rescue Mission Saves Turkish Boy From Under The Ruins

A few minutes ago, the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Team rescued a three year-old Turkish boy who was trapped for six days under debris in Cinarcik, in Turkey.
The boy was discovered by a Turkish team. They called the Israeli rescue team that rescued the boy within a few minutes.
The boy was evacuated to a hospital for medical treatment. IDF Rescue Mission in Turkey

“A national and humanitarian obligation, of saving human lives at every place and site, rests on our shoulders. It is a great privilege for our unit to take a central part in the assistance effort that the State of Israel and the IDF brought to Turkey”. Those were the words of COL Udi Ben-Uri, commander of the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit, at the memorial service that the Israeli mission held today at the debris site in Cinarcik, Turkey, where 8 Israelis lost their lives.
After 4 days of intensive search and rescue work in Cinarcik, during which 5 people were rescued and more than 30 Turkish and Israeli bodies were recovered, the mission is currently on its way to the city of Goleuk, to provide assistance at additional sites.
So far, the Home Front Command rescue team rescued 12 people and recovered 146 bodies at the sites where it operated. Words of The Home Front Search and Rescue Unit Commander in The Memorial Service For the Israelis Killed in The Earthquake in Cinarcik

The General Consul in Istanbul, Eli Shaked,
GOC Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Gabi Ofir,
My IDF partners, the Medical Corps and the Home Front Command,
Soldiers of the Search and Rescue Unit,
We have been called again to fulfill a humanitarian mission, we have been called again to save lives.
Six days ago the earth shook, natural forces buried under the ruins Turkish civilians, among whom were 11 Israeli civilians.
A national and humanitarian obligation, of saving human lives at every place and site, rests on our shoulders. It is a great privilege for our unit to take a central part in the assistance effort that the State of Israel and the IDF brought to Turkey. Our unit operated around the clock for 6 days, rescuing 12 people who were trapped under the ruins, among whom was the Israeli girl, Shiran Franko.
In addition, it is a great honor to bring the victims to burial in Israel.
Soldiers of the search and rescue unit, your professional level and your dedication are outstanding. Your way of saving lives is written in the pages of history of the IDF and Israel’s world-wide operations.
I am proud to be your commander.
On behalf of the citizens of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, I send my condolences to the Turkish nation. IDF Search And Rescue Mission To Turkey Completes its Mission Today

The IDF Search and Rescue mission will complete its mission in Turkey today (23 August), and will return to Israel tomorrow (24 August).
The completion of the IDF mission’s operation was coordinated with the Turkish authorities.
The members of the Home Front Command Rescue Unit stayed in Turkey for seven days, during which they rescued 12 people and recovered 140 bodies, at three debris sites: Cinarcik, Yalova, and the Turkish Naval base in Goleuk.
The Home Front Command personnel rescued from within the debris ten year old Shiran Franko, and recovered the bodies of 11 Israeli civilians. The mission concentrated its efforts at the sites where Israelis were vacationing at Cinarcik and Yalova.
The IDF will continue to operate the hospital it set up in the city of Adapazari to continue saving lives, and to provide medical assistance for the earthquake victims in the area.

24 August 1999

Home Front Command Mission Returns to Israel

The Home Front Command Rescue Mission has returned to Israel after seven days during which they rescued victims of the earthquake in Turkey. The members of the Rescue Unit, headed by GOC Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Gabi Ofir, arrived in IAF planes and landed in an IAF base near Ben-Gurion Airport.
Maj. Gen. Gabi Ofir read to the members of the Rescue Unit the message of the IDF Chief of the General Staff, LTG Shaul Mofaz, which read as follows:

“Soldiers and Commanders,
The mission from which you have just returned was a humanitarian mission and a moral obligation of the utmost importance. Again, you went to save lives and to lend a helping hand, and this time, against natural forces, which brought this terrible disaster upon Turkey.
It has been said: “He who saves one soul in Israel, it is as though he has saved the entire world”.
You toiled day and night, long hours, digging with your hands, listening for the slightest noise, hoping and working hard to save many souls.
The State of Israel and the entire world held their breath and shed a tear at the miraculous rescue of the ten year-old Shiran from under the ruins. You worked with persistence and endless dedication and devotion. You have demonstrated professional abilities that only few possess. Your dedication and persistence to save lives and bring the victims to burial in Israel show that the State of Israel and the IDF would do anything to assist our civilians wherever they may be.
We feel the pain of the Turkish nation and the Israeli families from the tragedy they underwent. We share the grief of the families who have lost their loved ones and wish the wounded victims that they get well soon.
The assistance operation has yet to be completed. A large IDF medical team is still in Turkey, providing medical aid to the patients and the wounded victims, according to the same sacred order of saving lives.
Soldiers of the Home Front Command,
You have completed your difficult mission.
You have brought pride to the IDF and the State of Israel.
You have supported the needy in time of crisis.
On behalf of the IDF General Staff, I give you a genuine blessing, may you all be blessed.”

In the upcoming days, the IDF Chief of the General Staff will participate in a debriefing of the rescue team’s operation in Turkey.
A field hospital set up by the Medical Corps continues to operate in Turkey, and provides medical aid to the victims of the earthquake in Adapazarai.

27 August 1999

Chief of the IDF General Staff Conducts a Condolence Visit to the Franko Home

The IDF Chief of the General Staff, LTG Shaul Mofaz, held today (27 August) a condolence visit to the home of Iris and Shiran Franko in Kiryat Bialik, survivors of the earthquake in Turkey.
The Chief of Staff expressed the condolences of the IDF to the family, and spoke with the family members about the Home Front Command rescue operation in Turkey.
The Chief of Staff brought to Shiran a picture of her rescue by the Home Front Command medical commander, COL Dr. Yitzhak Ashkenazi, inscribed with a personal dedication signed by the Chief of Staff.

28 August 1999

IDF Hospital in Turkey

The Hospital set up by the IDF on 19 August 99 in the city of Adapazari in Turkey, has treated so far more than one thousand patients and wounded people.
During this time, the Israeli medical teams have performed some 40 operations, and 14 babies were delivered in the Hospital labor room.
Parallel to the activity of the hospital, the heads of the IDF medical mission and the Turkish medical team are discussing the rehabilitation of the local medical system which was heavily damaged by the earthquake.

1 September 1999

Memorial Service For Victims of Earthquake in Turkey

Members of the IDF medical mission in Turkey held a memorial service today (1 September) for the victims of the earthquake that struck Turkey.
The service took place at the field hospital established by the medical team approximately two weeks ago in the city Adapazari.
Turkish parliament members, the mayor of Adapazari and delegates of the local health system attended the memorial service.
COL (res.) Dr. Paul Bendak, head of the IDF medical team, stated that Israel was one of the first countries that volunteered to offer aid to the Turkish people due to the wide experience the IDF has in dealing with incidents such as this one.
Members of the Turkish parliament and the mayor of Adapazari extended their gratitude to the IDF and to Israel for their response without delay to assist the Turkish people in their heavy tragedy.
Following the service, the members of the IDF medical mission departed from the Turkish medical teams and commanders of the Turkish army in Adapazari and began their final preparations to return tomorrow afternoon (2 September) to Israel.

2 September 1999

IDF Medical Mission Returns to Israel

The IDF mission which set up the field hospital in the city of Adapazari in Turkey returned to Israel not long ago (2 September). The IDF mission provided medical assistance for two weeks, following the collapse of the local hospital as a result of the earthquake in Turkey.
The IDF field hospital team treated 1200 civilians and delivered 15 babies.