Israel news photo: Flash 90
Turkey rejected on Sunday offers of aid from dozens of countries after earthquakes hit the eastern Van province. Israel was among the countries ready to aid the Turks.
A 7.6 strength temblor struck the region at 6:41 a.m. local time, reaching a depth of 4.5 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and came along with several other, weaker aftershocks.
The epicenter was located in the village of Tabanli. Initial estimates placed the death toll between 500 and 1,000 people after at least 45 buildings had collapsed.
Another earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale rattled eastern Turkey Sunday afternoon.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday that Israel would offer any assistance it could and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz ordered preparations to aid Turkey. A government spokesman said that an IDF delegation was completing preparations to head to the disaster area, as soon as it received final approval from the government.
Turkey, however, said it would not be taking aid from other countries.
Israel offered aid to Turkey in March of 2010 after an earthquake struck the eastern part of the country. At least 57 people were killed in the quake, which measured 6 on the Richter scale, and there was widespread damage. Turkey refused the Israeli aid offer.
An Israeli rescue delegation gave extensive aid to Turkey after a 1999 earthquake killed 18,000 people there.