Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called President Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday, offering condolences after a strong earthquake hit both countries, killing civilians in the western Turkish city of Izmir.
“Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together,” Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.
Prior to Mitsotakis’ call, both countries’ top diplomats pledged to provide mutual aid and support and stay in contact. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also called Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to convey his best wishes.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Friday’s earthquake was centered in the Aegean at a depth of 16.5 kilometers (10.3 miles) and registered at a 6.6 magnitude.
Six people were killed, while 202 were injured in Izmir, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) confirmed.
Media showed the wreckage of a multiple-story building in central Izmir, with people climbing it to reach rescuers. Smoke was filmed in several spots in central Izmir.
The quake was felt across the eastern Greek islands and even in the Greek capital Athens. Greek media said the residents of Samos and other islands fled their homes, while some rockfall was reported.
Izmir Mayor Tunç Soyer told CNN Turk that about 20 buildings had collapsed. The city is the third-largest in Turkey with about 4.5 million residents. Turkey’s interior minister tweeted that six buildings in Izmir were destroyed. He said there were small cracks in some buildings in six other provinces.
Environment and Urban Planning Minister Murat Kurum said people were trapped under the wreckage and rescue efforts were underway.
Videos posted on Twitter showed flooding in the immediate aftermath of the quake in Izmir’s Seferhisar district. Turkish officials and broadcasters called on people to stay off the streets after reports of traffic congestion.
World offers support
European Council President Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union is closely following the developments of the strong earthquake.
“My thoughts are with all the people affected. EU stands ready to provide support,” Michel wrote on Twitter.
European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic similarly said: “Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in close contact with civil protection authorities. The EU stands ready to help.”
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin in a Twitter message also offered support for both Turkey and Greece.
“A powerful earthquake has just hit Turkey and the Greek Islands. France stands alongside the Turkish and Greek people to face this terrible ordeal. If the governments of these countries so wish, French aid can be immediately dispatched on the spot,” he wrote.
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey similarly expressed its “sorrow for the loss of life and suffering caused by the earthquake near Izmir.”
Other countries including Pakistan, Italy, Germany and Canada also conveyed their best wishes and prayers to the people of Turkey.