An enormous magnitude 7 earthquake has hit Turkey, leaving buildings in ruin.
The devastating quake struck just two kilometres off the coast of the Greek island of Samos at 2pm local time (11am GMT) and has been felt across Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Libya.
The coastal city of Izmir, Turkey’s third-biggest with a population of around 4.5 million, has been one of the worst affected.
17 people have died in the city with a further 709 injured, according to the Turkish emergency management body. Another two people have died on the Greek Island of Samos.
One particularly terrifying video captured the moments after the earthquake struck.
In the clip, a huge cloud of dust was seen rising from the horizon the buildings collapsed. Another clip filmed a close up of one structure completely demolished.
There are unconfirmed reports of a tsunami hitting Izmir, with videos showing streets flooded.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter that six buildings had collapsed in two districts of Izmir province.
People flooded to the streets in the coastal city after the earthquake, witnesses said.
Footage from Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber showed a collapsed building in central Izmir.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD)put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.6, while the U.S.
Geological Survey said it was 7.0.
It struck at around 11.50am and was felt along Turkey’s Aegean coast and the northwestern Marmara region.
Residents of Samos, an island with a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas, Eftyhmios
Lekkas, head of Greece’s organisation for anti-seismic planning, told Greece’s Skai TV.
“It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one,” said Lekkas.
Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Istanbul, where the quake was also felt, said there were no negative reports in his region.
Unconfirmed video showed people in Izmir scouring through wreckage of some buildings that had collapsed.
It has not yet been confirmed if there are any fatalities.