Turkey: Officials issue arrest warrants for 130 people allegedly involved in construction of buildings destroyed in earthquakes
Turkey arrests building contractors 6 days after quakes, 12 February 2023
As rescuers still pulled a lucky few from the rubble six days after a pair of earthquakes devastated southeast Turkey and northern Syria, Turkish officials detained or issued arrest warrants for some 130 people allegedly involved in the construction of buildings that toppled down and crushed their occupants.
The death toll from Monday’s quakes stood at 28,191 — with another 80,000-plus injured — as of Sunday morning and was certain to rise as bodies kept emerging.
As despair also bred rage at the agonizingly slow rescue efforts, the focus turned to who was to blame for not better preparing people in the earthquake-prone region that includes an area of Syria that was already suffering from years of civil war.
Even though Turkey has, on paper, construction codes that meet current earthquake-engineering standards, they are too rarely enforced, explaining why thousands of buildings slumped onto their side or pancaked downward onto residents.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said...that warrants have been issued for the detention of 131 people suspected to being responsible for collapsed buildings...
Authorities arrested two people in the province of Gaziantep on Sunday who are suspected of having cut down columns to make extra room in a building that collapsed, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.
A day earlier, Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced the planned establishment of “Earthquake Crimes Investigation” bureaus. The bureaus would aim to identify contractors and others responsible for building works, gather evidence, instruct experts including architects, geologists and engineers, and check building permits and occupation permits.
A building contractor was detained by authorities on Friday at Istanbul airport before he could board a flight out of the country. He was the contractor of a luxury 12-story building in the historic city of Antakya, in Hatay province, the collapse of which left an untold number of dead.
The detentions could help direct public anger toward builders and contractors, deflecting attention away from local and state officials who allowed the apparently sub-standard constructions to go ahead...