An earthquake in the Aegean Sea has prompted Turkey and Greece to lay aside their rivalry over resources in the Mediterranean as the leaders of the two neighbors offered each other condolences and help in the wake of the disaster.
A powerful quake, measured at 6.6 magnitude by Turkish authorities and 7.0 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), struck the Aegean shore early Friday morning. More than 800 people were injured and at least 22 others lost their lives in Turkey, with the port of Izmir taking the brunt of the destruction. On the Greek island of Samos, the bodies of two teenagers – a boy and a girl – were discovered near a collapsed wall after the tremors.
Following the tragedy, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer condolences, while the foreign ministers of the two countries also made contact, with the Greek side expressing readiness to send rescue teams to Izmir to help extract people from the rubble.
“Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together,” Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.
Erdogan responded in kind, saying that “Turkey, too, is always ready to help Greece heal its wounds.”
That two neighbors show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life.
Relations between Ankara and Athens have hit a low point in recent months due to competing claims to continental shelves in the east Mediterranean, which are believed to be rich in energy resources.
The dispute has seen the two neighbors – both NATO member states – mobilize warships and planes, with Greece calling on the EU to slap Turkey with sanctions over what it deemed aggressive behavior after Ankara sent a research vessel into disputed waters near Cyprus.
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