• Turkey's stock exchange halted trading on its key index Wednesday after losses deepened, per media reports.
  • Turkish stocks have shed $35 billion in a 16% selloff the wake of back-to-back earthquakes Monday.
  • Turkey and Syria were hit by two devastating earthquakes which have so far claimed about 11,000 lives. 

Turkey's stock exchange halted trading Wednesday as a deepening rout wiped $35 billion in value off its flagship exchange after devastating earthquakes hit the country, media reports said.

It suspended trading of shares on the benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index after it dropped 7.1% Wednesday, for a decline of 16% this week, The Wall Street Journal reported. The steep losses on the exchange Tuesday triggered circuit breakers that forced trading to halt twice.

"Our stock exchange has decided to halt trading in equities, futures and options markets," Borsa Istanbul, the operator of the Istanbul Stock Exchange, told Bloomberg in a statement Wednesday. It didn't give an indication of when the market would reopen.

The closure — the first in 24 years — came after two huge quakes hit Turkey on Monday, prompting its government to declare a state of emergency in the 10 hardest-hit provinces. The first 7.8 magnitude earthquake and a second of 7.5 magnitude have killed around 11,000 people in Turkey and Syria, also hit by the natural disaster, at last count.

The losses endured by the Borsa Istanbul 100 index have put it on track for its worst week since a 2008 crash linked to the global financial crisis, per WSJ. 

The last time Turkey was forced to halt trading in equities was also the result of an earthquake, which occurred in 1999 at an industrial hub near Istanbul. Markets were closed for a week following that quake.

Turkey's currency, the lira fell to a record low following the quake Monday, but has made a slight recovery Wednesday.

In US trade, the iShares MSCI Turkey ETF fell 6.4% in early trading Wednesday, adding to a similar decline Tuesday and a 2.4% ddrop on Monday.

Borsa Istanbul didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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