Turkey says ready to help quake-hit Chile

09:47, March 01, 2010      

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Turkey said Sunday it was ready to offer aid to quake-hit Chile and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in the country's disaster.

"As a country that experienced similar disasters in the past, Turkey is ready to do its utmost to assist Chilean authorities in their efforts to heal the wounds of such a catastrophe," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul offered his condolences to President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, the statement said.

The Turkish Embassy building in the Chilean capital of Santiago was slightly damaged in the quake and Turkish authorities were trying to contact nearly 200 Turkish citizens living in the South America country, according to the statement.

A massive earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale rocked southern Chile early Saturday, killing more than 300 people so far.

In 1999, an earthquake of 7.4 magnitude jolted northwest Turkey, including Istanbul, killing 17,000 people and injuring 30,000 others.

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