SA sends condolences to Turkey
24 October 2011
South African President Jacob Zuma has expressed his "deepest sympathy and condolences" to the people and government of Turkey after a devastating earthquake struck the eastern part of the country on Sunday.
The 7.2 magnitude quake is reported to have claimed many lives, leaving many more injured and property damaged.
In sending his heartfelt condolences to Turkey, particularly to the families that had lost loved ones, Zuma said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Turkish people during this difficult time of mourning."
A total of 275 rescue teams from 38 Turkish provinces had reached the quake-hit Van province in southeast Turkey, Turkey's TRT television reported on Sunday, quoting the country's prime minister's office.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting the quake-stricken area to assess the situation.
Turkey's Dogan news agency reported that 85 Turks were killed in the strong earthquake; 25 bodies were found in Van city of Van province, 59 bodies in Ercis town - the worst hit in the quake - and another in Adlicevaz, a town of Bitlis province nearby.
The report said that more than 500 people were injured in the quake and that the death toll might increase.
More than 17 aftershocks, including a 5.1-magnitude tremor, had taken place.
Earlier this month, Erdogan made an official visit to South Africa, where he held talks with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
The two countries agreed to further develop relations, which in time might turn into high-level council meetings and fuel momentum between the regional powers.