Israel offers Turkey earthquake aid

March 9, 2010 at 10:57 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 9 (UPI) -- Israel has offered aid to Turkey following Monday's earthquake that badly damaged six towns and killed at least 51 people, Turkish national media reported.

At a news conference in Ankara, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the offer was welcome as long as there were no political strings, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Tuesday.

"Everything becomes secondary when a humanitarian issue appears on the agenda," he said.

The Turkish government reduced the fatality toll from 57 to 51 without explanation and said at least 74 people were injured in the magnitude 6 quake that hit around 4:30 a.m. Monday, Zaman reported.

At least 41 aftershocks were registered as people huddled in the streets, afraid to stay inside, the report said.

A large, but undetermined number of livestock also were killed or trapped in debris in the largely agricultural region, officials said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered regional officials to revamp building codes away from adobe bricks to more quake-resistant concrete in the reconstruction process, Zaman said.

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