By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are slated to speak following a series of earthquakes that brought widespread destruction to southern and eastern Türkiye where over 1,700 people have died.
The leaders "will have an opportunity to speak very soon," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. The executive mansion is expected to provide a readout of the call after it transpires.
Earlier on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to express Washington's condolences, and emphasized the US is "determined to provide any and all assistance to help those affected by these earthquakes."
"The Department of State is in close contact with our Turkish allies, and our humanitarian partners, and our initial assistance response is already underway," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. "We stand in solidarity with our allies, our partners and the people of Turkey and Syria, affected by these terrible events."
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the US is "in the process of deploying" two 79-person teams in addition to personnel already on the ground "to support Turkish search and rescue efforts, and to help address the needs of all those who have been hurt or displaced by the earthquake."
The announcement comes after US President Joe Biden earlier on Monday said he directed his administration "to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye and provide any and all needed assistance."
At least 1,762 people were killed and 12,068 others injured in 10 Turkish provinces due to two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, according to the country's disaster agency.
Early Monday morning, a 7.7 earthquake jolted Kahramanmaras and strongly shook several neighboring provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.
Later, at 13.24 p.m. (1024GMT), a 7.6 magnitude quake also centered in Kahramanmaras struck the region.