Earthquake hits southwest Turkey

The European earthquake monitoring service said the quake measured 6.4 magnitude. (EMSC website)
Updated 24 March 2019
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Earthquake hits southwest Turkey

  • Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake was 5 kilometers deep
  • ‘This is the biggest quake that I felt, I was outside but it was shaking very much’

ISTANBUL: A moderate 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook Turkey’s western province of Denizli on Wednesday, damaging some buildings and knocking bricks and tiles to the ground in the rural area, according to witnesses, officials and the Turkish quake monitor.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, according to mayors and administrators of districts at and around the epicenter of the tremor, speaking on broadcaster NTV.

Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake, which stuck at 9:34 a.m. (0634 GMT), was 5 kilometers deep and followed by four aftershocks between 4.2 and 3.4 magnitude.

The United States Geological Survey said it was 5.7 magnitude while the European monitoring service measured it at 6.4 magnitude.

“This is the biggest quake that I felt, I was outside but it was shaking very much,” Sahin Agah, 30, resident of the town of Acipayam near the epicenter, told Reuters by phone.

“I saw some roof tiles, bricks and solar water heaters fell from the roofs. There are some cracks in buildings. I did not see any building collapsed. Everyone is outside,” Agah said.

Administrators from the districts of Ucari and Yenikoy, the epicenter of the quake, said on NTV some 20 buildings and houses were damaged. Officials were still assessing the damage.

Yenikoy resident Muharrem Gezi said there was minor damage in his village. “I saw some chimneys broken and roof tiles falling on the streets. Some garden walls collapsed as well. Everyone is scared and outside. No one is injured,” he said.


Four Turkish soldiers killed in clashes with PKK, says ministry

Military vehicles pass as Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters man a checkpoint on a highway connecting the Iraqi-Syrian border town of Rabia and the town of Snuny north of Mount Sinjar December 20, 2014. (REUTERS)
Updated 34 min 16 sec ago
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Four Turkish soldiers killed in clashes with PKK, says ministry

  • Macron on Friday made clear of the importance to Paris of “the security of Turkey and a de-escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border,” the French presidency said

ISTANBUL, PARIS: Four Turkish soldiers were killed on Friday in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) near the border with Iraq, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Demiroren News Agency said a military base had been attacked in the mountainous Cukurca district of Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari, prompting the Turkish military to respond with a “large-scale” military operation.
“As part of ongoing operations on the Turkey-Iraq border, two soldiers were killed in clashes with terrorists despite all efforts to save them,” the ministry said, adding a total of four soldiers were killed and six wounded.
“Terrorists are under intense fire with the air operation and fire support vehicles in the region,” it said.
The PKK, which has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984, is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
A day earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted representatives of the Kurdish-led force that defeated Daesh extremists in Syria, drawing a sharp rebuke from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry.
Macron assured the Kurdish envoys of French support in their fight against the remaining militants, but Ankara accused the French leader of “seeking to confer artificial legitimacy on a faction of terrorist groups.”
“We condemn the reception by French President Emmanuel Macron of a delegation of so-called ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF),” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in the statement.
In late March the US-backed SDF flushed out Daesh militants from their last bastion in Syria but the Kurdish-led force still warns that the militants remain a threat in places.
The SDF is an umbrella Kurdish-Arab force dominated by Kurds from the People’s Protection Units (YPG). It is regarded with huge distrust by neighboring Turkey which sees the YPG as a terror group.
Macron assured the visiting SDF representatives, who were not named, of the “active support of France in the fight against Daesh which continues to be a menace for collective security,” the presidency said in a statement.
Particularly important is the support in the “handling of terrorist fighters held as prisoners along with their families.”
European capitals are keeping a careful eye on the Daesh prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the militants, given many are dual nationals.
Macron also vowed that financial support would be allocated to “respond to the humanitarian needs and the socio-economic stabilization of civilian populations in Syria.”
The SDF were the West’s key ally in defeating Daesh and waged the bulk of the fighting on the ground.
But they fear being abandoned by their patrons now Daesh has been beaten, after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
France’s past contacts with the SDF’s Syrian Kurds had already angered Turkey which regards the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has waged a 35-year insurrection against the Turkish state.
Macron on Friday made clear of the importance to Paris of “the security of Turkey and a de-escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border,” the French presidency said.
But Aksoy said Macron’s move did not sit well with the French-Turkish alliance, and warned that “Turkey will not hesitate to take measures deemed necessary to protect its national security.”