Turkish Health Minister Fakhruddin Kuja announced the death toll on Twitter, as people gathered in and around the Turkish city of Izmir on the streets after fleeing their buildings in search of safety. At least 120 people were injured.
The mayor of Izmir told CNN Turk that at least 20 buildings had been destroyed.
Pictures of a wrecked car appeared under a collapsed building, with people digging through the rubble, apparently in search of survivors.
And television clips showed water flowing in the streets in the province of Izmir as well as the Greek island of Samos, in what the authorities described as a “small tsunami.” It appears that no tsunami warnings have been issued.
Izmir province resident Zaki Sweissal told CNN Turk that he walked out of his office building just in time before it collapsed.
“There was an elderly woman in the building but we rescued her, and she went out. There is another building near this building. They keep trying to get people out,” he said.
Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger said that search teams have rescued 70 injured people, and called on residents to move away from the roads so that ambulances and other emergency vehicles can reach the affected areas.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the strength of the quake at 7.0, while Turkish authorities said it was 6.6. And the earthquake happened The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of the city of Nyon Carlofsion in Samos, 1:51 PM ET (7:51 AM ET).
The United States Geological Survey reported that it struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km, making its impact strongly felt at ground level around the epicenter.
Authorities in both countries reported dozens of aftershocks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted, “Izmir will be cured soon,” shortly after the earthquake.
“With all our country’s capabilities, we stand by our citizens affected by the earthquake. We have taken measures to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers,” Erdogan said.
Samos’ Deputy Mayor Giorgos Dionisio told Greek media that some old buildings had collapsed on the island.
Samos Hospital chief Nikos Stefanis said only four minor injuries had been reported so far. There were no reports of people trapped under the rubble.
Greek authorities asked people to stay away from the beach and buildings, and be alert to high waves as the aftershocks continued.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Twitter, “Samos has suffered. A government team is on its way to the island to deal with the problems. I am always aware of the situation and call on residents to be vigilant during the post-earthquake activity.”
European Parliament President David Sassoli tweeted, “My thoughts are with all the Greek and Turkish people affected by the strong earthquake that struck the Aegean Sea.
“Together with other EU institutions, we are closely following the situation. The European Union is ready to help.”
This is a developing story.