Powerful earthquake hits eastern Turkey, near Iran border

E. Turkey earthquake

Devastation in Van after earthquake in Eastern Turkey, near Iran border

With eerie timing, a powerful earthquake (from 6.6 to 7.2 on the Richter scale, depending on who is reporting) has hit eastern Turkey, near the city of Van.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit near Van in southeastern Turkey on Sunday near the border with Iran, Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory and Research Institute said. Between 500 and 1,000 are feared dead.

The institute said the earthquake struck at 10:41 am GMT and was 5 kilometers (three miles) deep.

The state-run Anatolia news agency said rescue workers were trying to reach people believed to be trapped under the wreckage of a seven-story building in Van, close to the Iranian border.

A Reuters reporter in Hakkari, a town around 100 km (60 miles) south of the city of Van in southeastern Turkey, said he could feel the building sway for around 10 seconds.

There was no immediate sign of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, around two and half hours drive through the mountains from Van, around 20 km (12 miles) from the epicenter.

There are some graphic videos on Hebrew Ynet.

The Jerusalem Post (and Israel Radio news which I just heard) also report a possible toll of 500-1000 deaths.

State-run media reported between 500-1,000 people had been killed, while the prime minister’s office said the earthquake had caused a loss of life and damage.

The Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was 5 km (3 miles) deep. The US Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6.

Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets.

Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was heading to Van to see the damage, media reported.

Aftershocks continued after the initial quake, whose epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said.

I am pleased that Israel’s leaders are mature enough to ignore the hostile relations between the two countries and to offer aid and rescue services to Turkey:

Following initial reports of the earthquake, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will Turkey offer  “any assistance required” to deal with the aftermath of the natural disaster.

Barak ordered the Defense Ministry’s head of the political-diplomatic bureau to transmit Israel’s offer of help to Turkey.

I hope that Turkey’s leaders are level-headed enough to accept Israeli aid if it is needed.  This would be in keeping with the help proffered to Israel by Turkey last winter during the devastating Carmel Forest fire.

If only the two countries could be able to cooperate in “normal” times too and not just during times of crisis and catastrophe, the region would be a better place.

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6 Responses to Powerful earthquake hits eastern Turkey, near Iran border

  1. reality says:

    if we send help we’ll probably be blamed
    1) for the earthquake as everything bad happening in this region is our fault!
    2) for not helping enough or being quick enough
    3) when we deem it time to leave we’ll be blamed for leaving in the middle
    this is a no win situation politically as far as Israel is concerned . On the other hand I suppose we do have to offer to help. Why can’t we wait to see if the Arab countries will help first? Turkey didn’t exactly help when we had raging fires last year did they?!

    • anneinpt says:

      You’re right that Israel will probably get blamed for something or other. But you’re wrong about Turkey. See my article itself. Turkey did help with the fire.

  2. Linda says:

    I am so proud of Israel and her willingness and ability to help other nations in times of need. I hope Turkey will take advantage of Israel’s knowledge (and her wonderful S&R dogs) and allow us to help.
    I don’t think that anybody will blame Israel will get blamed for the earthquake, unless people decide that the earthquake was an act of God as payback for Turkey’s bad behavior to us! But that would be good and prove that God is on our side!

  3. Andrea says:

    Sky news has just reported that Erdogan refused any help from Israel – still awaiting for confirmation but I have to say such a mean leader at the head of a great nation

    • anneinpt says:

      From what I’ve been able to find online, Erdogan has refused help from everyone – including Israel. He says they can cope on their own.

      This is from the Sky News website:

      International offers of aid poured in from Nato, China, Japan, the US, Azerbaijan, European countries and Israel.

      Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked the governments who had offered help, but said Turkey could handle the disaster relief efforts without assistance.

      I hope he knows what he’s doing, for the sake of all the victims. A natural disaster is no time to be proud.

  4. Earl says:

    Then let Erdogan enlist Allah’s aid…

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