Istanbul tourism
The earthquake is reported to have centred on the Izmir region Murad Sezer/Reuters

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has struck Turkey, according to the Kandilli Observatory and the Earthquake Research Institute.

It is also reported that the earthquake hit the Aegean Sea and affected Istanbul, the surrounding provinces including Izmir and some nearby Greek islands.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority have said that the epicentre is in the Karaburun region.

The main earthquake struck at 3.31pm local time, this was followed by four smaller aftershocks which ranged from 3.9 to 4.9 on the Richter scale.

There have been reports of people running to safety and some structural damage on the island of Lesbos, though there no no reports of any injuries

Speaking to Reuters, 50-year-old dentist, Didem Eris said: "The trembling was really bad. Everything in my clinic started shaking wildly, we all ran outside with the patients.

"We are very used to earthquakes as people of Izmir but this one was different. I thought to myself that this time we were going to die."

Turkey sits close to the African and Arabian tectonic plates, sitting on a number of fault lines and is prone to earthquakes.

In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a 7.6 magnitude quake hit the town of Izmit.

Following the 1999 disaster, the government has ramped up efforts to prevent damage to the nation in new quakes such as better public preparation, changes to insurance laws and several old buildigns have been demolished.