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Directing public anger on builders, Turkey has arrested more than 100 suspects for “building collapses.” | Turkey Earthquake

Profile photo - A woman stands in front of a collapsed building in Gaziantep, one of the areas severely damaged by the earthquake.
Profile photo – A woman stands in front of a collapsed building in Gaziantep, one of the areas severely damaged by the earthquake.

Turkish authorities vowed on Sunday (January 12) to thoroughly investigate anyone suspected of being responsible for the collapse of tens of thousands of homes in a massive earthquake nearly a week ago. Authorities have ordered the arrest of 113 suspects.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said 131 suspects had been identified in ten provinces in connection with the collapse of thousands of buildings in last Monday’s quake, media reported. responsible.

Detention of 113 of them has been ordered, he told a briefing at Ankara’s disaster coordination center. “We will follow up scrupulously until the necessary judicial process is completed, especially with regard to those buildings that suffered serious damage, and those that resulted in deaths and injuries,” he said.

Oktay said the Ministry of Justice has set up earthquake crime investigation bureaus in the quake-hit provinces to investigate the deaths and injuries.

According to assessments of more than 170,000 buildings in the quake zone, nearly 25,000 buildings collapsed or were severely damaged, Turkish Environment Minister Murat Kurum said.

Rescuers are still searching for survivors six days after the quake. The quake, which struck Syria and Turkey, has already killed 28,000 people and the toll is expected to rise. In addition, at least 80,000 people were injured.

Turkish police stopped a developer at Istanbul airport on Friday night as he was about to board a flight to Montenegro and formally arrested him on Saturday. A residential building he was developing in the southern city of Antakya collapsed. The arrested man told prosecutors he did not know why the building collapsed. He said that all procedures were completed in accordance with the legal requirements, and the licenses were complete.

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Opposition parties have accused Erdogan’s government of failing to enforce building safety regulations and abusing special taxes imposed after the last 1999 earthquake to make buildings more earthquake-resistant.

Erdogan said the opposition lied, spread slander and slandered the government, and blocked investment, rather than confronting corruption in opposition-dominated metropolitan areas.

Turkey has dropped 47 places to 101st on Transparency International’s Global Corruption Perceptions Index in the decade to 2022. Turkey had the highest ranking in 2012, ranking 54th out of 174 countries in the world.

According to the Associated Press, although Turkey’s building safety requirements meet current earthquake engineering standards, they are rarely enforced. In addition, the earthquake was powerful, but victims, experts, and Turks all blamed poor construction for exacerbating the magnitude of the disaster.

On Sunday, Turkish authorities detained two contractors at Istanbul airport as they were heading to Georgia. The two were blamed for the collapse of several buildings in Adiyaman.

The arrests are likely to direct public anger toward builders and contractors, and divert public attention from local officials responsible for approving the construction of the substandard buildings, the report said.

Erdogan’s government, already plagued by a slowing economy and high inflation, faces parliamentary and presidential elections in May.

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