Turkey is still reeling from the effects of a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that struck in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. The earthquake claimed many lives, with recent estimates pointing to over 5,000 killed in Turkey and Syria. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the death toll from the earthquake could increase eightfold.
As the international community pitched in to help Turkey in its recovery efforts, Asst. Professor of Radiology at Yale Mehmet Emin Adin asked Elon Musk on Twitter if Starlink could help the country keep its connectivity active. Adin added that due to the earthquake, “severe communication shortages” were happening in the country.
Musk responded to the request, stating that SpaceX can send Starlink kits to the country as soon as the Turkish government approves their use. The SpaceX CEO also clarified that so far, Starlink is not approved by the Turkish government yet.
— Mehmet Emin Adin, MD (@emin_adin) February 6, 2023
As stated in a Bloomberg News report, a senior Turkish official has responded to Musk’s Twitter comments. While the Turkish official is grateful for Musk’s offer to send Starlink kits to Turkey, the official reportedly noted that SpaceX’s satellite internet service is not needed, at least for now. This was because Turkey reportedly has enough satellite capacity, and base stations in the country are still working.
Interestingly enough, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is expected to launch Turkey’s first domestically produced communication satellite, Turksat 6A, into orbit in the first quarter of the year. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket will be taking Turksat 6A to space.
The earthquake in Turkey is among the most devastating in recent years. As per Turkey’s Vice President, 3,419 people have been killed and over 20,000 have been wounded in the country so far. The Syrian government, on the other hand, reported that 812 people have died and 1,449 have been wounded in government-controlled areas. The Syrian Civil Defense reported that over 790 people have been killed and over 2,200 have been injured in northwestern opposition-held areas as well.