Early reports suggest no New Zealanders affected in Turkey earthquakes - Foreign Ministry

There have been no reports of New Zealanders in Turkey affected by the deadly earthquakes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southeast Turkey, near Syria's border, at around 4am Monday (local time) bringing whole apartment buildings down.

The quake was followed by a large aftershock of a similar magnitude.

At least 2600 people have died, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers try to pull people from the piles of rubble. 

An MFAT spokesperson told Newshub the ministry is responding to reports of the earthquakes.

It said there are currently 29 New Zealanders registered on the ministry's SafeTravel website as being in Turkey.

"We have no information to suggest New Zealanders have been affected by this incident at this stage," the spokesperson said.

"The New Zealand Embassy in Ankara is monitoring the situation closely/in contact with local authorities to determine whether any New Zealanders are affected. The Embassy has had no requests for consular assistance to date.

"New Zealanders requiring consular assistance can call the emergency after-hours line on +64 99 20 20 20. All New Zealanders in Turkey are advised to follow the advice of local authorities, and register their details on         www.safetravel.govt.nz."        

The earthquake was the biggest recorded worldwide by the US Geological survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021.

The epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude quake was 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi, in Turkey's Gaziantep province, at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles).

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the death toll stood at 1651 and 11,119 people were recorded as injured. At least 1073 people were killed in Syria, according to figures from the Damascus Government.

Turkey is currently in winter with temperatures in some areas expected to fall to near-freezing overnight.