Panetta Orders Military Support for Turkey Earthquake Relief

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2011 — Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta today ordered U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand to pro­vide human­i­tar­i­an relief sup­plies to Turkey fol­low­ing last week’s dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake, Navy Capt. John Kir­by, a Pen­ta­gon spokesman, announced today.

The Pen­ta­gon and the State Depart­ment are coor­di­nat­ing the response to the Turk­ish government’s request in the wake of a mag­ni­tude 7.2 earth­quake that rocked east­ern Turkey’s Van province Oct. 23, he said.

Eucom has jumped into action to air­lift blan­kets, cots, sleep­ing bags, hygiene kits and oth­er relief sup­plies with­in the next 18 to 24 hours, Kir­by said.

Kir­by expressed con­do­lences to the Turk­ish peo­ple as their gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to work with local author­i­ties and inter­na­tion­al relief agen­cies to cope with the quake’s after­ef­fects and pro­vide for their needs. “And our ablest efforts will be expend­ed in assist­ing in any way pos­si­ble,” he said.

The death toll in Turkey con­tin­ues to mount, with more than 570 peo­ple report­ed dead and anoth­er 2,500 injured.

The earth­quake struck just four days after ter­ror­ists launched ear­ly-morn­ing attacks against Turk­ish out­posts and police sta­tions along the Iraqi bor­der. The attacks, which killed at least 24 sol­diers and injured 18 oth­ers, includ­ing a child, have been attrib­uted to the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Par­ty, NATO offi­cials said.

As he con­demned the attacks, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma called Turkey “one of our clos­est and strongest allies.”

Turkey has been a NATO mem­ber since 1952.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)