5.8-magnitude earthquake shakes Istanbul, injures eight

Witnesses felt buildings shake in the city during the quake and said some offices and schools were temporarily evacuated. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 September 2019

5.8-magnitude earthquake shakes Istanbul, injures eight

  • Witnesses felt buildings shake in the city during the quake and said some offices and schools were temporarily evacuated
  • Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu wrote on his Twitter account that there were no immediate reports of damage or people hurt

ISTANBUL: A moderate 5.7 magnitude earthquake shook buildings and damaged two mosques in Istanbul on Thursday, slightly injuring eight people and causing residents to rush from buildings.

Witnesses in the city of 15 million, Turkey’s largest, felt buildings sway and said some offices and schools were temporarily evacuated. Three major seismic fault lines criss-cross Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia.

“The quake really shook at the start and then it continued, maybe it felt like that because the building is so tall,” said Ozge Etcan, 27, an employee at a financial firm in Istanbul’s Levent district, where crowds gathered outside in the aftermath.

The tremor was at a depth of 12.6 km, the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute said, locating its epicenter 70 km (44 miles) west of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea, south of the town of Silivri. It struck at 1:59 p.m. (1059 GMT).

Both the observatory and the US Geological Survey assessed its magnitude at 5.7.

“Despite this earthquake having a magnitude that could be considered serious, we have not as yet received heartbreaking news, just some small damage,” President Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference.

He said eight people had been treated for slight injuries, but did not provide further details.

The top section of a minaret had collapsed at the central mosque in Istanbul’s Avcilar district, close to the Marmara Sea, CNN Turk footage showed.

Another minaret collapsed in the Sariyer district of the city, the municipality’s disaster coordination center said.

“There will be aftershocks of this quake. What we ask from citizens is that they don’t enter damaged buildings,” Murat Nurlu, head of the earthquake department at Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), told Reuters.

Some Buildings Damaged

Cracks emerged in some buildings across the city. Two of them in the Sultangazi and Eyup districts were damaged, AFAD said in a statement, clocking the quake at 5.8 magnitude.

Mobile phone users had difficulty making calls shortly after the quake. AFAD said work was continuing to resolve the problem in communications.

The epicenter was 22 km from the nearest inhabited area, Silivri, AFAD said. It said there had been 28 aftershocks, the strongest of which had a magnitude of 4.1.

The Istanbul governor’s office said primary and middle schools had been ordered shut for the remainder of the day.

In 1999, a quake measuring 7.6 struck the city of Izmit, 90 km southeast of Istanbul, killing more than 17,000 people.

Recep Kutuk, a 37-year-old civil servant, said he experienced two major earthquakes in the region in 1999 and this had made him sensitive to any tremor.

“It was really powerful. I hope this is not a precursor to another major earthquake,” he said.


Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

Updated 17 November 2019

Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

  • Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad
  • More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: Iraqi protesters regained control of a third bridge leading to Baghdad’s Green Zone on Sunday, taking further ground in the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in decades.
Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad, part of a weeks-long attempt to disrupt traffic and reach the Green Zone housing government ministry and embassies.
Protesters made a barricade of old cabinets, trash cans and metal sheeting on the bridge while security forces took positions behind blast walls installed to prevent protesters from crossing to the other side. Protesters who choked on the tear gas were evacuated by tuk-tuk, a Reuters cameraman said.
On Saturday, Iraqi demonstrators reoccupied part of adjacent Sinak Bridge and a nearby tall building in Baghdad that security forces had pushed them away from a week before. They have held a third bridge, Jamhuriya, since October 25.
More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests.
In Basra in the south, dozens of protesters burned tires and briefly blocked some roads on Sunday, before police managed to restore control and reopen them, police said.
The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Islamic State in 2017.