Türkiye tightens noose around building contractors over ‘earthquake crimes’

More contractors and others allegedly responsible for poorly constructed buildings that collapsed and caused heavy mass casualties in last week’s devastating earthquakes have been detained across Türkiye, sources said.

In southern Kahramanmaras province’s Turkoglu district, three people were detained over buildings that collapsed in February 6 twin quakes, which have killed more than 38,000 people and left 108,000 others injured, Anadolu Agency reported.

Another five contractors were detained in Istanbul over “killing by negligence” under the coordination of the Kahramanmaras Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Two more people suspected of being involved in defective construction work were detained in southeastern Osmaniye province.

Meanwhile, in southern Adana province, the number of people detained over faulty building work increased to 12.

Separately, two suspects, one of whom is a contractor, were arrested in southeastern Sanliurfa province in an investigation into the collapse of a building that claimed 17 lives.

Similarly, a civil engineer who designed a defective building in Sanliurfa’s Haliliye district was also apprehended. The structure’s sudden collapse killed 14 people.

Türkiye’s Justice Ministry has ordered prosecutors in the 11 provinces to establish special “earthquake crimes investigation offices”.

Providing homes to victims 

Türkiye has promised to investigate anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings and has ordered the detention of more than 100 suspects, including developers.

Officials have determined that 263,800 independent units in 61,722 buildings were found to be heavily damaged requiring urgent demolition.

Some 86,673 independent units in 13,917 buildings were moderately damaged, and 749,654 independent units in 121,515 buildings were slightly damaged. About 915,723 independent units in 229,023 buildings are undamaged.

Damage assessment works continue in all quake-hit provinces.

UN says some 47,000 buildings may have been destroyed or damaged by the twin quakes.

The quakes killed at least 38,000 people while authorities in neighbouring Syria have reported more than 5,800 deaths.

The United Nations on Thursday appealed for more than $1 billion in funds for the Turkish relief operation, just two days after launching a $400 million appeal for Syrians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday pledged to first complete search and rescue efforts and then carry out accommodation and subsistence services to earthquake victims “by making sure no one suffers.”



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