More Than 15,000 Dead, US Jet Carrier Near Turkey

(Bloomberg) – The death toll from twin quakes has surpassed 15,000 in Turkey and neighboring Syria, a disaster U.S. President Joe Biden said was one of the worst to hit the region in more than a century.

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The US positioned an aircraft carrier closer to Turkey in case it needs additional quake assistance.

Turkey has restored access to Twitter after the company said it would do more to tackle “disinformation” in the wake of Monday’s quakes, Hürriyet newspaper reported. Turkey is working on opening two new border crossings to allow more aid to Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Turkey’s stock exchange canceled deals made on Wednesday and said the market would be closed for five business days. A three-month state of emergency is in effect for Turkey’s provinces hit by the quakes, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is touring the affected areas.

Important Developments

  • Erdogan promises Building Blitz to renew earthquake-affected areas within a year

  • Turkey halts stock trading for five days and cancels some trades

  • Twitter access blocked in Turkey days after massive earthquake

  • Despite the earthquake, Erdogan wants new elections in May

(All times Istanbul, GMT +3)

Pentagon deploys aircraft carriers closer to Turkey (8:10 a.m.)

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the US is positioning its aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush closer to Turkey in case it needs additional quake assistance.

Biden: Earthquake hits region ‘over 100 years’ worst (7:54 a.m.)

US President Joe Biden said the earthquakes were the worst to hit the region “in over 100 years” while offering condolences to Turkey in a speech in Wisconsin on Wednesday. “As I told President Erdogan and called him immediately when the first quake struck, the US is offering full support,” Biden said, adding that the US was also supporting humanitarian partners in Syria.

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Three dead in attempted jailbreak in Turkey’s Quake Zone (7:50 a.m.)

Three inmates were killed when security forces thwarted a group’s attempt to escape from a prison in Hatay province, Turkey’s Justice Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. Nine occupants were injured, it said.

Businessman Says Disaster “10 Times Worse Than Seen” (7:30 a.m.)

Mustafa Buluntu, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of quake-hit Kahramanmaras province, said the disaster was “ten times worse than seen on TV,” Ekonomi newspaper reported. “Half of our workforce has died,” Buluntu said, adding that many factories in the Turkish province were badly damaged.

Death toll exceeds 15,000 (7:00 a.m.)

Turkey’s death toll has risen to 12,391, according to the country’s civil protection agency. Nearly 3,000 others were killed in Syria, NTV Television reported.

Miracle Survivors (6:30am)

After 73 hours, a five-year-old girl and her parents were evacuated alive from the rubble of an apartment building collapsed by the earthquake in the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Turkey restores access to Twitter (6:11 a.m.)

Turkey has restored access to Twitter after the social media platform agreed to do more to counter disinformation in the wake of the disaster, Hurriyet newspaper said.

Turkey Cites Twitter’s “Pledge” To Curb Disinformation (12:27 AM)

Turkey’s state media said Twitter officials “promised” to work with the nation to curb disinformation on the social media platform.

Twitter executives agreed to do more to stop bots and prevent fake news, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency reported, without saying how they obtained the information.

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–Assisted by Selcan Hacaoglu, Beril Akman and Patrick Sykes.

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