Feb. 6 earthquakes killed 46,000 'Turkish citizens,' Turkey’s official statistics institute reports

Feb. 6 earthquakes killed 45,784 "Turkish citizens" in 2023, according to the official death statistics from the government-run TÜİK. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya had previously announced the death toll as 53,537.

This photo shows the cemetery prepared for the earthquake victims in Hatay province.

Duvar English

Over 525,000 people died in Turkey during 2023 with an increase of 4.1 percent compared to the previous year, according to the “Death and Causes of Death Statistics” published by the government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

While the crude death rate, which is the number of deaths per thousand people, was 5.9 per thousand in 2022, it increased to 6.2 per thousand in 2023.

The province with the highest crude death rate was southeastern Adıyaman, with 18.0 per thousand in 2023. This was followed by Hatay with 17.1 per thousand, Kahramanmaraş with 14.8 per thousand, and Kastamonu with 10.6 per thousand. 

All of these provinces were gravely affected by the Feb. 6 earthquakes that struck the country’s southeastern part.

According to TÜİK’s report, a total of 45,784 "Turkish citizens" lost their lives in the earthquakes. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced in February 2024 that the total number of deaths was 53,537.

The province with the lowest crude death rate was eastern Şırnak, with 2.3 per thousand, followed by eastern Hakkari with 2.5 per thousand, and eastern Batman and Van, both with 3.0 per thousand.

In 2023, deaths from diseases of the circulatory system were the highest, accounting for 33.4% of all deaths. This was followed by deaths from neoplasms at 15.0% and diseases of the respiratory system at 13.2%. 

The proportion of deaths from external causes of injury and poisoning, which also includes deaths from earthquakes, was 12.3%. The same rate was 3.9% in 2022.

The COVID-19 related deaths accounted for merely 0.3 percent of the deaths in 2023 contrary to 4.4 in 2022.

While the number of infant deaths was 9,555 in 2022, it increased slightly to 9,575 in 2023. The infant mortality rate also rose, from 9.2 per thousand in 2022 to 10.0 per thousand in 2023.

While the TÜİK uses official statistics coming from the Health Ministry, it noted that Syrians in the country who are under temporary protection were not included in them.