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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK

Turkish PM urges citizens not to panic

Text of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's statement to the press after a 50-minute government emergency meeting on the earthquake of Tuesday 17th August: A very strong earthquake hit certain regions of Turkey.

We still do not have detailed information on the tremor because telephone communications have not been established with several regions.

It has been determined, however, that the Kocaeli and Sakarya were the hardest hit.

There is extensive damage in Istanbul as well.

There is also damage in surrounding regions.

The proportions of the damage have not been determined yet.

The rescue work intensified and communications were restored at daybreak.

We will keep you informed of the developments.

In the meantime, I conferred with Prof Ahmet Isinkaya, who is the director of the Kandilli Observatory.

He said that the major tremor was behind us and that aftershocks are expected to continue.

Therefore, he advised citizens not to enter damaged buildings and to wait for the aftershocks to subside.

In addition, citizens should not panic because people get injured when there is panic.

The traffic stops when there is panic.

For this reason, I call on the citizens to abide by the advice not to enter damaged buildings because aftershocks are expected to continue.

People should take precautions but avoid panic.

This is all I have to say for now.

We will inform you of any developments.

A crisis centre has been set up at the General Staff and others have been set up in all provinces that were shaken by the quake.

Thank you.

Source: TRT TV, Ankara, in Turkish 17 Aug 99

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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