'No casualties' in 6.5-strong earthquake in west Turkey

Photo: 'No casualties' in 6.5-strong earthquake in west Turkey / Turkey

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey's northwest Aegean region Saturday at noon caused no casualties or significant damage according to initial reports, Turkey's official emergency agency has said, Anadolu agency reported.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency announced on Saturday that dozens of aftershocks were recorded after the earthquake near Gokceada Island in the Aegean Sea, with the most powerful at 5.3.

The quake was felt in a large area covering several cities, including Canakkale, 90 km off the epicenter, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir - Turkey's three biggest cities - as aftershocks are being recorded.

Western Thrace, Greek capital Athens, and several Bulgarian cities have also felt the shocks, an AA reporter in Greece says.

Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said: "We have received breaking reports from all districts of Istanbul, on the largest quake, quickly. No loss of life and property in Istanbul. Life continues as normal."

Earthquakes that measure between 6 and 6.9 magnitudes are classified as 'strong,' and those between 7 and 7.9 are deemed 'major' quakes, according to European Geological Surveys Association.

Istanbul and its surrounding region was hit by a devastating earthquake in August 1999 which killed over 17,000 people and left nearly 600,000 homeless.

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