The number of victims of the terrible earthquake on February 6, 2023 in the Middle East continues to grow.

Now we know about 5434 dead and more than 31 thousand injured and wounded in Turkey and about 1 thousand dead in Syria, but, sadly, the final figures are likely to be much higher.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already said that this is the worst disaster the country has experienced since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake that killed nearly 33,000 people.

But the fact is that in 1999, the devastating Izmit earthquake occurred in Turkey, which claimed the lives of 17 thousand people.

It is unlikely that Erdogan simply forgot about this disaster, so the damage from the current earthquake may be even more extensive.

Be that as it may, the first reaction of the world community to the tragedy of Turkey and Syria followed immediately.

The governments of more than 40 countries promptly responded to Ankara's and Damascus' requests for international assistance by offering their support.

Russia was one of the first to make such a proposal: President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Erdogan and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying that Russia was ready to assist in the aftermath of the disaster.

After that, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation sent 100 specialists from the Centrospas airmobile detachment and the Leader center for special risk rescue operations to Turkey.

In Syria, 300 Russian servicemen and 60 pieces of equipment joined the rubble removal.

The European Union said it was urgently sending search and rescue teams to Turkey from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

In addition, Brussels promised to connect its satellite constellation to map the consequences of the earthquake.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the dispatch of medical teams, search and rescue teams and humanitarian aid to Turkey.

China has decided to provide almost $6 million in humanitarian aid to Ankara. South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol issued an order to send rescuers and emergency supplies to Turkey using a South Korean military transport aircraft.

The distant Australia and New Zealand did not stand aside - together they allocated $ 8 million to help the affected countries, two-thirds of which will go to Turkey, and the rest to Syria.

Even Greece, teetering on the brink of a military conflict with Turkey over disputed borders in the Aegean Sea (not to mention the problem of Northern Cyprus), sent a transport plane with firefighters, doctors and rescue dogs to the disaster zone.

This generous step has already made journalists remember the period of “earthquake diplomacy” in 1999, when Greece also helped Turkey after the Izmit disaster, and Ankara, in turn, helped Athens when the Peloponnese began to shake a month later.

Then The New York Times noted with surprise that "over the past four weeks, their (Greece and Turkey) relations have improved with astonishing suddenness, which no one expected."

It is possible that something similar will happen now.

A conflict between two NATO members is the last thing Washington needs as it struggles to rally its allies against Russia.

That is why the very same The New York Times today dedicates a whole page in the digest of news about the consequences of the current earthquake to the hypothetical reconciliation of Greece and Turkey.

But this is far from the most important of the political "aftershocks" that can be expected from the February 6 earthquake.

It is interesting to watch how the events related to the catastrophe in the Middle East are covered by the Western media.

Fox News, for example, highlights that "while most international aid is heading to Turkey, Russia has said it plans to also send aid to its close ally Syria amid Western-led international isolation due to the war in Ukraine."

Let's leave the passage about "international isolation led by the West" on the conscience of Fox journalists - it has long been known that only the United States and its NATO allies will "isolate" Russia.

The main thing in this comment is the recognition of the fact that, apart from Russia, practically no one helps Syria.

Meanwhile, the situation in this country is almost more critical than in Turkey.

According to the UN,

At the same time, not a single Western country is providing Syria with assistance in eliminating the consequences of the earthquake.

But it is worth paying tribute to the Western media: they, albeit without much joy, admit that Russia remains the only country helping Damascus.

“Ten units of the Russian army with a total number of more than 300 people are involved in clearing rubble and assisting in search and rescue operations in Syria.

Russia is the most powerful foreign power operating in Syria, and Putin has long allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, throwing the full power of the Russian military to support the Syrian army.

The story of Syria once again proves that the "humanistic" rhetoric of Western leaders is nothing more than beautiful words.

When it comes down to it, only the Russians will help the people of Syria, and for Washington, Brussels, London and other selfish political interests turn out to be more important than “universal human values”.

In this situation, the media are trying to highlight trusted agents of the Western (mainly British) intelligence services - volunteers from the White Helmets, who operate in areas controlled by the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.

But it turns out frankly badly: the White Helmets are photographed with the same children rescued from the rubble, which makes us remember the famous Syrian girl Aya, who was filmed at different times and in different parts of the country in the arms of the "rescuers" from the Helmets ".

And U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake posted on his Instagram* account condolences to the victims of the earthquake with the amazing wording: “Please pray for the good people of Turkey and Syria.”

Do we need any more evidence that for Western politicians, diplomats and journalists, even the victims of the elements will be divided into "good" and "bad"?

The latter automatically include those Syrians who support President Assad and gratefully accept Russia's help.

Turkey is more difficult.

"Good" Turks for the West are those who oppose the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

By a strange coincidence, on the eve of the earthquake, on February 5, the British The Guardian published an article “The two-faced“ Sultan ”of Turkey is not a friend to the West.

It's time to play hard."

The article argued that Erdogan's "hostile attitude" towards NATO and certain "democratic principles" could no longer "go unpunished."

The usefulness of Turkey as a reliable Western ally has already “almost come to an end”, and if so, then the West should reconsider its attitude towards Erdogan.

The author of the article blames the Turkish leader for "disgusting communication" with Putin, "double-dealing" against Ukraine, "neo-Ottoman excesses" and "periodic aggression" against Greece.

Isn't it time to admit, concludes The Guardian, that "the two-faced Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not a friend of the West, and punish him accordingly"?

The most interesting, however, is how exactly the newspaper proposes to “punish” Erdogan if he wins the elections again.

One of the possible options is additional sanctions, including against him personally.

The US Congress may deny Ankara the F-16 fighter jets promised by Biden (this step, as a lever to force Erdogan to lift the veto on Sweden and Finland joining NATO, has long been considered in Washington).

Turkey's stalled EU membership talks could be frozen indefinitely.

But the author of the article, apparently, himself understands that all this may not be enough.

"To get Erdogan's attention, any punitive measures must go further!"

he writes.

Hours after the article in The Guardian was published, Turkey and Syria shuddered from the monstrous aftershocks.

And one of the consequences of the earthquake was the criticism of one of the pillars of the Turkish economy - the construction business.

Many of the more than 6,000 houses destroyed on February 6 were built without taking into account possible risks, did not have earthquake-resistant structures, were built from inappropriate materials, etc. And the construction industry in Turkey is most closely connected with Erdogan, his relatives and entrepreneurs close to him .

Let's leave conspiracy theorists to speculate about the use of "tectonic weapons" by the United States - there is no evidence of this and there will not be.

But the fact that Washington and London will try to use the tragedy in the Middle East in order to prevent the re-election of the Turkish president, who has become a burden for them from a useful ally, is beyond doubt.

And it is very possible that soon we will see another "Maidan" on Taksim Square, the participants of which will personally blame Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the disaster on February 6.

The political aftershocks of the earthquake in the Middle East are yet to come.

* Meta product, activity recognized as extremist, prohibited on the territory of Russia by decision of the Tverskoy Court of Moscow dated 03/21/2022.

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editors.