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Turkish leader slams 'propaganda' as earthquake deaths rise to 29

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is warning against repeating 'negative' comments about Turkey being ill-prepared for quakes.

ANKARA, Turkey — Officials say the death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey is up to 29 as rescue teams continue searching the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors. 

The country's health minister said Saturday that more than 1,200 people were injured in the Friday night quake centered near the town of Sivrice. 

Various earthquake monitoring centers gave magnitudes ranging from 6.5 to 6.8. for the earthquake. Turkey's emergency preparedness agency says it was followed by 398 aftershocks. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the hardest-hit areas Saturday afternoon and attended the funeral of a mother and son killed in the quake. He warned people against repeating “negative” comments about the country being inadequately prepared for earthquakes. 

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Credit: AP
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, centre left, visits Elazig, eastern Turkey, site of Friday's earthquake, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. Rescuers continued searching for people buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings while emergency workers and security forces distributed tents, beds and blankets in the affected areas. Mosques, schools, sports halls and student dormitories were opened for hundreds who left their homes after the quake. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

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