A powerful earthquake has hit eastern Turkey near the city of Van, less than 100 kilometers from the border with Iran. The U.S. Geological Service said the earthquake measured 7.3 on the Richter scale and was centered some 19 kilometers northeast of Van.
Preliminary reports out of Turkey said some buildings in downtown Van collapsed and Anatolia news agency said at least 50 people were taken to hospitals in the city.
Professor Mustafa Erdik, director of the Kandilli seismological institute in Istanbul, told a news conference that "500 to 1,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the quake."
Residents of the Armenian capital Yerevan also felt the tremor and many residents of the city fled their houses.
Officials in Armenia said the earthquake there measured somewhere between 5 and 6 points but was more strongly felt in areas along the border with Turkey.
Areas in Iran and Georgia also reported feeling the earthquake.
compiled from agency reports
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