Earthquake Shakes Turkey

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An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 shook southeastern Turkey (search) on Saturday, damaging some 150 houses and injuring 15 people, authorities said.

The quake struck around 9:36 a.m. (0736GMT) and was centered in the town of Karliova in rural Bingol province — where a magnitude 6.4 quake killed 177 people in 2003 — the Istanbul-based Kandilli (search) observatory said.

Gov. Vehbi Avuc (search) of Bingol, 430 miles east of Ankara, said the temblor caused some damage in Karliova and in six villages in the region.

"There is no loss of life," Avuc told private NTV television.

Local Gov. Erkan Capar of Karliova said the quake slightly damaged some 120 houses in the town. He said 28 other houses were damaged in six nearby villages.

The government dispatched tents, blankets and other relief aid to the snow covered area, where some villages were cut off from the outside world due to heavy snowfall for days.

The quake caused an avalanche in the region, which blocked one of two lanes of the main highway between the city of Erzurum and the town of Cat, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The quake was felt in the neighboring provinces of Erzurum, Diyarbakir, Tunceli, Mus and Erzincan, Anatolia said.

Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which lies atop active fault lines. Two massive quakes killed some 18,000 people in 1999.