A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey's largest city Istanbul on Thursday, sparking panic across the city, causing several strong aftershocks, minor injuries and building evacuations.
Initial reports showed 8 people were slightly injured and some buildings sustained minor damage, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul shortly after he returned from the UN General Assembly in New York.
‘All related institutes are coordinating to determine what the situation is,’ Erdogan said, adding that no serious damage was reported despite nearly 30 aftershocks felt.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said the quake occurred at a depth of 6.9 kilometres in the Marmara Sea, off the Silivri district on Istanbul's European side.
The quake comes two days after another quake with a magnitude of 4.6 was registered in Istanbul.
The city remains on alert, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu told reporters at the city's catastrophe coordination centre. The centre reported that two minarets collapsed in Avcilar and Gaziosmanpasa districts.
The city has set up tents by a hospital in Silivri after patients refused to enter the building, Silivri mayor Volkan Yilmaz said in televised remarks. He insisted the building was safe to enter but said experts were awaited to check for any cracks in its structure.
Broadcaster CNN Turk showed footage of some patients lying on the ground and some family members crying in panic.
There were also reports of some damage to buildings. CNN Turk showed footage of a deep crack in a building that was leaning in Sirinevler. The building was evacuated. Another building was evacuated in Beyoglu district, CNN Turk said.
The Istanbul governor's office said elementary and secondary schools had been closed for safety reasons, adding that authorities were monitoring the situation.
State broadcaster TRT showed footage of people running and taking to the streets in panic.
The Turkish Red Crescent warned citizens to stay away from buildings with visible fractures. ‘There may have been damage to some buildings,’ its general manager Kerem Kinik tweeted.
Turkey sits on a major fault line and has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past, including one near Istanbul in 1999 that killed more than 17,000 people in the wider region.