Earthquakes

Magnitude 6 quake shakes western Turkey; more than 20 hurt

Turkey's disaster management agency says a moderate earthquake has hit western Turkey

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 6.0 hit western Turkey on Thursday, damaging homes and causing injuries to some 20 people.

The quake was centered on the town of Bozkurt, in Denizli province, according to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, AFAD.

The agency said the quake struck at 2:25 p.m. local time (1125 GMT) with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0. The Istanbul-based Kandilli seismology center said the quake was less powerful, measuring it at 5.7.

Denizli Gov. Hasan Karahan said the temblor knocked down some mud-brick constructions around the province and caused cracks or other damage to other structures. AFAD said a total of 23 had been hospitalized or sought medical care.

Bozkurt's mayor, Birsen Celik, said the quake knocked down two houses in the town and that residents escaped with slight injuries. Several other homes were damaged.

"The earthquake lasted more than 15 or 20 seconds," she said. "Several houses have been damaged, roofs have caved in and there are deep cracks in walls."

"Thank God, despite the fact that one or two houses collapsed, there were no cases of death or serious injury," Celik added.

People ran out into the streets in panic, she said, adding that residents were being urged not to return to damaged homes.

Scores of houses were also damaged in the nearby town of Tutluca, but no one was hurt there, according to its mayor, Hudai Karasahin. The quake caused the minaret of a mosque to topple in the village of Agdan.

Television footage showed the earthquake interrupting a group of teenagers playing table tennis, with the youths rushing under the ping-pong tables for safety. Another video showed a couple in Denizli being caught up in the quake in the middle of their wedding ceremony.

The quake was felt in the neighboring provinces of Antalya, Mugla, Isparta and Burdur, where people also ran out of their homes. It was followed by some 20 aftershocks, AFAD said.

Turkey is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, a magnitude-7.4 quake killed more than 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey.