The earthquake in the south-east of Turkey was the strongest in decades. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called it the most powerful natural disaster in the republic since 1939, RIA Novosti reports.
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Central Turkey and Syria, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.
The epicentre of powerful tremors was located 26 kilometres from the city of Gaziantep, which is home to about 1.065 million people. The earthquake source was located at a depth of 10 kilometres.
Tremors also occurred in several other regions of Turkey including Ankara.
The quake in Turkey affected ten provinces of Turkey. As many as 1,700 buildings were demolished as a result of the quake.
It was reported that the earthquake warning system in Turkey had not worked before the tremors.
As a result of the earthquake in the south-eastern part of Turkey, at least 284 people were killed, more than 2,300 were injured, Turkey's Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said.
The earthquake struck at about 4:17 a.m. local time (coincides with Moscow time) on February 6 in the Kahramanmarash region. After that, AFAD recorded another 78 aftershocks, the strongest one being with a magnitude of 6.6.
The largest number of victims was reported in the city of Gaziantep, located south of the epicentre. There are also many victims in the city of Malatya which is is located north of the above cities.
More than 1,700 buildings were destroyed in the earthquake zone, Haberturk reports citing Vice President Fuat Oktay.
Russia has already offered assistance to Turkey in eliminating the consequences of the earthquake. The Telegram channel of the Ministry of Emergency Situations said that Moscow announced readiness to send two Ilyushin Il-76 airplanes to Turkey. The EU has already sent rescuers to Turkey, Anadolu news agency said.
The earthquake also affected Syria, which is located south of the affected Turkish regions. Damascus reported 237 dead and 639 injured. The largest number of victims was reported in cities in the north of the country — Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Tartus.
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