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6.8 magnitude earthquake shakes eastern Turkey, collapsing several buildings

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Turkey’s emergency management agency says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has shaken the country’s east.

The earthquake struck Friday at 1755 GMT, 8:55 p.m. local time, near the town of Sivrice in eastern Elazig province, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said there were no reports deaths in Sivrice or other affected areas. However, 4-5 buildings collapsed in Sivrice, where two people were hurt, he said.

Soylu was at a meeting on earthquake preparedness when the quake struck.

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters that there were no reports of any casualties in Sivrice but said the quake may have caused casualties in rural areas outside the town. He said troops were on standby to help is they are needed.

The Kandilli seismology centre in Istanbul said the quake measured 6.5., while the U.S. Geological Survey gave the preliminary magnitude as 6.7, and said the quake affected not only Turkey but also Syria, Georgia and Armenia.

Turkish media said the earthquake sent people running outdoors for safety.

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