Turkey launches investigation into 612 people after earthquake: Official

The detection of evidence in the buildings continues as a basis for criminal investigation, Bozdag added

AP Istanbul

Photo: ANI Twitter

Investigations have been launched against more than 600 people in relation to buildings that collapsed in Turkiye's catastrophic earthquake earlier this month, a government official said Saturday.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 184 of the 612 suspects had been jailed pending trial. Those in custody include construction contractors and building owners or managers, he said in televised comments from a coordination center in Diyarbakir in southeast Turkiye.

The detection of evidence in the buildings continues as a basis for criminal investigation, Bozdag added.

The aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6, which led to nearly 48,000 deaths in southern Turkiye and northern Syria, has seen Turks question the structural integrity of many of the 173,000 buildings that collapsed or were seriously damaged.

Experts have said many toppled structures were built with inferior materials and methods and often did not comply with government standards. Opposition parties have accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration of failing to enforce building regulations.

The mayor of a town close to the epicenter of the earthquake was detained as part of an investigation into collapsed buildings, the Cumhuriyet newspaper and other outlets reported Saturday.

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Okkes Kavak, who heads the district of Nurdagi in Gaziantep province and is a member of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), is said to have failed to ensure construction inspections were carried out.

AFAD, Turkiye's disaster management agency, said that 9,470 aftershocks had hit the region affected by the quake.

This will continue for a long time we expect these aftershocks to last for at least two years, AFAD General Manager Orhan Tatar said in a media briefing in Ankara. He said a 5.3-magnitude quake that hit Bor, a town around 150 miles (about 245 kilometers) west of the Feb. 6 epicenter, was considered independent of earlier temblors.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Feb 25 2023 | 11:09 PM IST

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