It is believed that atleast 1,000 people could lie dead under the rubble of dozens of collapsed buildings. "500 to 1,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the quake," Professor Mustafa Erdik, director of the Kandilli seismological institute in Istanbul, told a news conference. [138 dead in Turkey quake: Prime Minister]
But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said there had been damage and deaths in Van. Number of actual casualities are yet to be calculated. Since the quake is of 7.2 magnitude in Richter magnitude scale. [Watch amazing video footage of Earthquake in Turkey 7.3 richter scale]
"People are panicked. The telecommunication services have collapsed. We cannot reach anybody," Van Mayor Bekir Kaya told the NTV television just after the huge tremor.
As a result of this plate tectonics configuration, Turkey is one of the world's more active earthquake and volcano regions.
Turkey's most severe earthquake in the twentieth century occurred in Erzincan on the night of 1939-12-27; it devastated most of the city and caused an estimated 160,000 deaths. [See the details of earthquake in Turkey]