October 20, 2005

Moderate quake shakes western Turkey, 15 hurt

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A moderate earthquake shook western
Turkey early on Friday, causing slight damage to several
buildings and resulting in 15 casualties from the ensuing
panic, the local governor said.

The Kandilli earthquake observation center said the tremor,
at 0:40 a.m. (2140 GMT), measured 5.9 on the Richter scale and
its epicentre was in the Aegean Sea off the coast of
Seferihisar in Izmir province.

Izmir Governor Oguz Kagan Goksal told the CNN Turk
television channel 15 people had been taken to hospital as a
result of heart attacks or jumping from buildings during the

The roofs of five buildings, three of them empty, had been
damaged in the tremor, he said.

Residents gathered in parks and open areas after the quake,
and the local council made public announcements telling them
not to go back into their houses, CNN Turk said.

Turkey is criss-crossed by seismic faultlines and
experiences frequent tremors. Some 18,000 people were killed in
a powerful earthquake which shook northwest Turkey in 1999.

Authorities decided to close schools in the Izmir region on
Friday as a result of the quake, the channel said.