Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his government will lay the foundation stone on Thursday for the houses to be built for those affected by the twin earthquake that struck the south of the country on February 6, at a time when a new 4.4-magnitude tremor hit the central state of Malatya.

Erdogan said in a televised interview on Wednesday that none of the Turkish citizens remained "helpless" neither in the earthquake zone nor outside it, stressing that the earthquake will remain at the top of the government's agenda and its only concern is to heal the wounds.

The Turkish president announced a tender for the construction of 46,327 houses in cities and villages as part of efforts to build permanent homes in the earthquake zone.

"Tomorrow we will lay the foundation stone, and we ask God for success to finish the permanent houses within a year as promised," he said.

President Erdogan promised in remarks days after the great Kahramanmaraş earthquake on February 6 that within one year, citizens living in tents and prefabricated houses will be moved to permanent apartments, and reported that the work of determining the extent of the damage is about to be completed in the earthquake areas.

Regarding the agreement to ship grain through the Black Sea, Erdogan indicated that he plans to make a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin within two or three days.

The Turkish president announced last Saturday the extension of the agreement to export Ukrainian grain through the ports of the Black Sea, after talks with the Russian and Ukrainian sides.

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine, with Turkish mediation and UN supervision, signed the "Document of the Initiative for the Safe Shipment of Grain and Food from Ukrainian Ports" during a meeting hosted by Istanbul.

The agreement included securing exports of grain stranded in Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea (Eastern Europe) to the world.


In a related context, an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale occurred in the "Yesilyurt" area of Malatya province, central Turkey.

A statement issued by the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said on Wednesday that an earthquake of magnitude 4.4 occurred in the state of Malatya, at 22:43 local time (19.43 GMT).

He pointed out that the epicenter of the earthquake is in the Yechiel Yurt area, and at a depth of 7 kilometers below the surface of the earth.

It is noteworthy that on the sixth of last February, two earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, followed by thousands of violent aftershocks. The disaster, centered in the province of Kahramanmaraş, killed tens of thousands of people and left 11 provinces in ruins.