The epicenter of the 6.0 magnitude temblor was near the remote village of Basyurt, in Elazig province, at a relatively shallow depth of 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
More than 100 aftershocks jolted the region over the following day.
The initial jolt knocked down traditional stone and mud-brick homes as well as minarets in at least six villages.
The worst-hit village was Okcular, which was almost entirely razed as 19 of the community's 900 residents were killed.
Among the survivors was a 17-day-old baby who survived because she was cushioned between her mother and grandmother while they slept. The two women did not survive.
Dozens of farm animals also perished in the quake, leaving families without a livelihood in a region without significant agriculture or other industries.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed many of the deaths on the shoddy construction, pledging that quake-resistant homes would be built in the area.