Local Turkish community raising money for quake victims

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PHOENIX -- The Turkish community in Phoenix is coming together to help the victims of Sunday's quake in Turkey.

Haluk Balkan was busy on the Internet Sunday night, reading about the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked his homeland Sunday.

"You know it's the start of the winter there and the people are helpless," Balkan said.

As the president of the Turkish American Association of Arizona (TAAA), Balkan fears for the welfare of the quake victims.

Balkan said Turkey is no stranger to quakes.

"In the eastern province in the past there was major earthquakes as well," he said.

In 1999, a major quake hit Turkey, killing thousands.

Sunday's quake shook up Van on the eastern side of the country.

"People in Iran also felt it," Balkan sad.

Hundreds of people were confirmed dead Sunday and the death toll was expected to climb.

Rescuers combed through piles of concrete rubble from buildings searching for survivors.

"We don't necessarily see ourselves in disasters, but when you see them struggling it hurts," Balkan said.

He is networking via the Internet trying to raise money for quake victims.

"Those of us who have done all right, we have obligations to give back," he explained.

To make a donation or learn more about the fundraising efforts, log onto www.taaaz.org.