Ankara: At least 20 people were killed and 1,015 others injured after a massive earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale jolted eastern Turkey, authorities said on Saturday.
The quake hit the Elazig province at 8.55 p.m. on Friday night, with its epicentre in Sivrice district, along with neighbouring provinces and countries including Syria and Georgia, reports Anadolu News Agency.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said that most of the injured were reported in Elazig (560).
The search and rescue operations were continuing and the death toll could rise, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters on Saturday.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the injured were transferred to hospitals and facilities have been opened to serve those who have been affected.
The AFAD said 118 aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 5.4, were felt following the initial temblor.
National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said the army was ready to step into action if necessary.
The quake was also felt in other provinces including Adana, Osmaniye, Tunceli and Hatay, said Anadolu News Agency.
In addition, northern Syrian regions including Idlib, Azaz, Al-Bab, Jarabulus, Afrin and Tal Abyad also felt the tremors. This is not the first quake to hit Turkey in 2020.
A 5.4-magnitude quake jolted western province of Manisa on Wednesday, while Ankara was rattled by a 4.5-magnitude temblor on Thursday.
A total of 51 people were killed in 2010 when a 6.0-magnitude quake had hit Elazig province.