Istanbul: The death toll from a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey rose to 40 on Sunday, the prime minister's emergency unit said.
      
Thirty people were pulled out alive from the debris of the tremor, said a statement issued on its website.

Earlier on Sunday, during a visit to the quake-hit region, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had put the death toll at 37.

The tremor hit the eastern province of Van just three weeks after a 7.2 magnitude quake hit the same region, killing more than 600 people.

Two journalists were among those killed in the latest tremor.

Rescue workers overnight retrieved the bodies of two reporters from the private Dogan news agency from the debris of a hotel which was toppled by the latest earthquake. They were 26-year-old Cem Emir and 58-year-old Sebahattin Yilmaz.

Wednesday's quake was focused on Edremit town, some 15 kilometres from Van province, according to the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory.

(Agencies)