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Turkey probes dozens over quake social media posts

Rescue workers remove corpses from the rubble of a building after an earthquake in Elazig, eastern Turkey, on January 26, 2020. – Rescue workers raced against time on January 25 to find survivors under the rubble after a powerful earthquake claimed 22 lives and left more than 1,200 injured in eastern Turkey. The magnitude 6.8 quake struck in the evening of January 24, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province, and was felt across neighbouring countries. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

Turkish prosecutors are investigating dozens of people for “provocative” social media messages about the deadly earthquake in eastern Turkey, reports said Monday.

The death toll from Friday’s quake in Elazig province had reached 39 people as hopes dimmed of finding more survivors amid the rubble.

The Ankara prosecutor’s office is checking 50 individuals on suspicion of “spreading fear and panic” and “insulting the Turkish people, the Turkish republic and the state institutions”, the Hurriyet daily said.

The suspects are accused of sharing fake images about the quake on social media.

Turkish authorities were winding up their rescue efforts on Monday.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters that 24,000 tents had been provided, 1,000 container shelters were being built, and funds released to repair damaged buildings.

Thirty-five of the victims died in Elazig and four in the neighbouring province of Malatya, officials said.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 86 injured were still being treated in hospitals — 18 of them in intensive care units.

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