Blinken pledges continued U.S. support for Türkiye, Syria

The United States will continue to support the people of Türkiye and Syria as they recover from devastating earthquakes, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to the hard-hit region.

“The United States is here, we stand strongly with the people of Türkiye and the people of Syria,” Blinken said February 19 at Incirlik Air Base, near Adana, Türkiye, after surveying damage to Hatay province. “And we’ll stick with it until we all get the job done.”

The same day, Blinken announced an additional $100 million in aid for the recovery, bringing total U.S. assistance for the people of Türkiye and Syria since the February 6 earthquakes to $185 million.

Those funds follow President Biden’s deployment of search and rescue teams to Türkiye soon after the initial earthquake. U.S.-funded partner organizations have saved lives and reunited families in Syria.

The U.S. military has delivered 200 metric tons of supplies including, tents, food, clean water, blankets, hygiene kits and shelter supplies to areas affected by the earthquakes. And people across the United States are donating everything from warm clothes and baby formula to batteries, medicine and shoes to assist earthquake survivors.

In a joint press conference in Ankara with Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu February 20, Blinken said the U.S. people and the private sector have donated nearly $80 million in assistance for the response.

“We are grateful for this support, both to the U.S. administration as well as to the people of United States of America,” Çavuşoğlu said. “We would like to thank them for the solidarity and support they have extended in these dire days.”

Secretary Blinken shaking hands with Türkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on tarmac (© Clodagh Kilcoyne/AP)
Blinken shakes hands with Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at Incirlik Air Base after touring earthquake-stricken areas of Hatay province February 19. (© Clodagh Kilcoyne/AP)

In a meeting with the Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, Blinken said the United States is committed to expanding access to earthquake-affected areas in Syria and delivering aid through humanitarian partners. The White Helmets, a long-standing U.S. partner, have rescued more than 2,900 people from the rubble.

“The United States is proud to join the global effort to help Türkiye, a valued and longstanding friend, partner, and NATO Ally,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said February 19. “In both Türkiye and Syria, the United States will remain committed to doing whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to provide necessary assistance to those affected by these earthquakes.”