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UPDATE - Trump sends condolences to Erdogan over quake in Turkey

UPDATE - Trump sends condolences to Erdogan over quake in Turkey
6.8-magnitude quake shook eastern Elazig province on late Friday, killing 41 people


By Abdullah Yasin Guler

ANKARA (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump has offered condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a phone call over Friday's deadly earthquake in eastern Turkey, according to the Turkey's Communications Directorate on Tuesday.

The 6.8-magnitude quake shook the eastern Elazig province late on Friday, killing 41 people, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). Tremors were also felt in neighboring countries including Syria and Georgia.

In a statement, the directorate said that Trump told Erdogan that he stands by Turkey over the phone after the powerful earthquake.

Earlier on Monday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters that 18 out of 86 injured people were under intensive care at medical facilities.

Out of 1,607 injured people, 1,516 have been discharged from the hospital, while 45 people who were trapped under the debris of houses and buildings have been rescued, AFAD said.

A total of 948 aftershocks were felt, it added.

AFAD said rescue work continues in the region with more than 3,800 personnel, hundreds of vehicles and 22 sniffer dogs.

According to the Communications Directorate's statement, Erdogan and Trump also exchanged views on regional issues, particularly situation in Syria and Libya, as well as bilateral relations.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Since then, however, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in the zone in attacks by the regime and Russian forces as the ceasefire continues to be violated.

On Jan. 12, parties in Libya announced a ceasefire in response to a joint call by the leaders of Turkey and Russia. But two days later in Russia, talks for a permanent ceasefire ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

A week later, Haftar accepted terms in Berlin to designate members to a UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur in Ankara

source: News Feed
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