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AP journalists overcome odds to cover powerful quake that killed tens of thousands in Turkey and Syria 

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The 7.8 earthquake and the ensuing 7.5 temblor that followed struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6. It will go down in history as the deadliest natural disaster in modern times in a region already battered by years of conflict.

Years of experience working in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon translated into a quick response in the field and aggressive reporting under extremely challenging circumstances.

From Turkey’s capital, Ankara, to the earthquake’s hardest-hit Hatay province to rebel-held northwestern Syria, AP journalists worked day and night, risking injury and worse, to produce heart wrenching coverage of the tragedy as it unfolded: photo, text and live coverage of rescues, analytical pieces about shoddy construction, the delay with which foreign aid reached parts of Syria and the consequences for Syrian women and many war refugees, as well as countless interviews with survivors and the devastation of ancient cities.

None of this would have been possible without the people who backed up the journalists on the ground, juggling news production with all kinds of challenging logistics. The members of the Turkey and Syria earthquake teams are Mehmet Guzel, Cavit Ozgul, Khalil Hamra, Suzan Fraser, Zeynep Bilginsoy, Justin Spike, Sarah El Deeb, Bassem Mroue, Abby Sewell, Kareem Chehayeb, Abdelrahman Shaheen, Ghaith Alsayed, Francisco Seco, Tanya Titova, Bassam Hatoum, Kamran Jebreili, Fay Abuelgasim, Hussein Malla, Petros Giannakouris, Lefteris Pitarakis, Sylejman Kllokoqi, Zenel Zhinipotoku, Emrah Gurel, Yakup Paksoy, Bernat Armangué, Muhacit Ceylan, Ayse Wieting, Robert Badendieck, Hakan Kaplan, Burhan Ozbilici and Thanassis Stavrakis.

The coverage yielded hundreds of hits in Teletrax on any given day, both for lives and for many of our edits. The first day’s story garnered a staggering 873,000 pageviews, with six more stories from the week garnering an impressive more than 100,000 pageviews.

For their extraordinary display of bravery, skill and dedication, AP’s Turkey and Syria earthquake teams are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner. 

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