'My mother tongue weighs heavy’; Faculty member mourns after Turkey earthquakes

February 15, 2023
"Mersin, Turkey sunset over beach"
Mersin, Turkey, captured by Dr. Müge Finkel on Dec. 30, 2022.

Dr. Müge Kökten Finkel was born and raised in Turkey; her 78-year-old parents, and other immediate family members, currently live in the southern city of Mersin on the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean. 

"Muge Finkel headshot"Mersin, Turkey, sits 175 miles from the epicenters of the February 5 earthquakes, registered at a magnitude of 7.8, that left tens of thousands dead and many more homeless in Turkey and Syria. 

In her personal essay published by Public Source, Finkel reflects on the destruction and loss of human life in her home country. For her, living across the globe doesn’t make the disaster any less painful.  

“Raised in Turkey, living in Pittsburgh, all I could do was to bear witness to growing agony, and listen to the sheer burden of life piercing through the TV screen,” she writes. 

Read Dr. Müge Kökten Finkel’s full essay here. 

Müge Kökten Finkel is the director of the Ford Institute for Human Security and an Assistant Professor at Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She can be reached at mfinkel@pitt.edu.  

For anyone who wishes to support the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts, she recommends giving to AHBAP Foundation, a non-governmental civil society organization, and Pittsburgh Helps Turkey, a collaborative effort supported by student organizations at Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University.