By Fahri Aksut and Davut Demircan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey has provided 460 million Turkish lira ($75 million) in aid to victims of recent earthquakes in eastern Turkey, said the nation’s interior minister on Thursday.
Suleyman Soylu told Anadolu Agency’s Editor's Desk in the capital Ankara that the government is working hard for the people of Elazig and Malatya in the wake of a quake this January.
Some 150,000 earthquake victims in the provinces have been given aid, he said.
No country in the world could have done the damage assessments in Elazig and Malatya as quickly as Turkey, he said.
He said Turkey started to pay compensation to earthquake victims for collapsed buildings as well as those heavily damaged and which need to be demolished.
Daily life in Elazig and Malatya will return to normal by the end of April, he added.
On a possible earthquake in Istanbul, a metropolis of over 15 million people, he said authorities are planning ahead for the threat of a big quake in the city.
In 1999, Turkey's Marmara region was jolted by two massive quakes that claimed lives of tens of thousands.
On Jan. 24, Elazig and Malatya were hit with a 6.8 magnitude earthquake which led to the deaths of 41 people and injured 1,600 others. The tremors were also felt in neighboring countries, including Georgia and Syria.