Major Power Outage Hits Cities and Provinces Across Turkey

Istanbul
The Bosphorus Bridge is illuminated by the flood of traffic during rush hour, between the two sides of the city across the Bosphorus Straits, in Istanbul, April 7, 2011. Osman Orsal/Reuters

A major power outage hit cities and provinces across Turkey on Tuesday, including the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, where parts of the subway system were shut down and shopping malls were plunged into darkness.

Broadcaster NTV said there were reports of power cuts in more than 40 provinces. An official at Turkey's energy ministry had no immediate comment on the cause, while the power transmission company TEIAS could not be reached.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported TEIAS officials as saying power was cut to many regions at 10:36 am (0736 GMT) due to a problem in transmission lines. They said a technical assessment had begun and they were working on restoring electricity as soon as possible.

Turkey's electricity consumption has risen strongly in recent years, thanks to robust economic growth and a rising population, forcing it to ramp up energy investments and imports of natural gas, its biggest source for power generation.

Such widespread power outages are rare.