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Greece pledges ‘every force available’ to aid quake-stricken Turkey

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Greece’s prime minister on Monday pledged to make “every force available” to aid historical rival Turkey after the neighboring country was hit by two massive earthquakes, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the cabinet that Ankara had already approved the dispatch of a Greek emergency rescue squad and that Athens was ready to send “additional equipment, medical supplies, blankets, tents” depending on further Turkish requests.

The 7.8-magnitude nighttime tremor wiped out entire sections of major Turkish cities in a region filled with millions of people who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.

The initial quake was followed by more than 50 aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude tremor that jolted the region in the middle of search-and-rescue work on Monday afternoon.

Greece’s foreign minister said he had spoken to his Turkish counterpart. The Greek government spokesman said a C-130 military transport plane would likely depart on Monday for Turkey with rescuers and supplies.

The head of Greece’s quake protection agency will accompany the mission, the spokesman said.

Despite decades of animosity and recent tension over migration and hydrocarbon exploration, Greece and Turkey have a long history of helping each other in earthquakes.

The countries cooperated on recovery efforts in 2020 after a strong earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea, killing scores and causing vast damage mainly in Turkey.

They also worked together in 1999 when both countries were struck by deadly earthquakes less than a month apart.

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