ANKARA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul expressed Monday their condolences over the victims of an strong earthquake in Italy that has claimed at least 50 lives.
At a joint press conference after their hour-long talks, Gul and Obama both started with expressing their condolences over the earthquake casualties.
Gul said Turkey "shares the sorrow of the Italian people," while Obama stressed his hope that damages could be minimized with rescue efforts.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3, but Italy's geophysics authorities put the magnitude at 5.8.
Firefighters, volunteers and military personnel were racing against time to search for survivors in collapsed buildings in the quake-hit areas, according to media reports reaching here.