Israel offers Turkey earthquake assistance

Barak and Gantz say Israel, IDF prepared to help Turkey in aftermath of 6.6 magnitude quake that rocks southeast Turkey.

Turkey Quake 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkey Quake 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following the major earthquake that rocked southeastern Turkey on Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will offer Turkey "any assistance required" to deal with the aftermath of the natural disaster.
A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 shook southeastern Turkey on Sunday, Turkey's Kandilli Observatory said, triggering the collapse of buildings and killing many people, according to a local mayor. State-run media reported between 500-1,000 people had been killed, while the prime minister's office said the earthquake had caused a loss of life and damage.
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Barak ordered the Defense Ministry's head of the political-diplomatic bureau to transmit Israel's offer of help to Turkey.
IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz instructed the army to be prepared to aid Turkey in the aftermath of the earthquake. Gantz emphasized that an IDF delegation would set out for the sight of the earthquake only after receiving approval from the political echelon.
Turkey came to the aid of Israel during the December 2010 Carmel Fire, despite strained relations between the countries stemming from the raid of the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, in which nine Turks attempting to break the blockade of Gaza were killed by IDF commandos.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent two firefighting airplanes to Israel to help battle the blaze, leading to a momentary thaw in relations between the two countries.
Following the gesture, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "We very much appreciate this mobilization and I am certain that it will be an opening toward improving relations between our two countries, Turkey and Israel.”
Israel sent a delegation to aid Turkey in the aftermath of the 1999, 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Izmit, in which approximately 17,000 people were killed.
An Israeli team consisting of 250 people, as well as sophisticated rescue equipment and rescue dogs, were sent to Izmit to aid in rescue and recovery operations.
Israel also set up a field hospital in Izmit, consisting of an isolation room, an operating room, an X-ray laboratory, two clinics, and various medical equipment.