79 building contractors, 74 who bear legal responsibility for buildings, 13 property owners, and 18 people who had altered buildings have been detained
Anger over what many consider fraudulent building practices is simmering in Turkey, where 184 individuals have been detained on suspicion of being responsible for the collapse of structures in this month’s earthquakes, and investigations are expanding, a minister said on Saturday.
In Turkey, the number of fatalities from the earthquakes—the most severe of which happened in the middle of the night on February 6—rose to 44,128 overnight. This brings the total fatalities in Turkey and neighboring Syria to more than 50,000. The greatest catastrophe in Turkey’s recent history saw the collapse or significant damage to more than 160,000 buildings containing 520,000 units.
Speaking at a press conference in Diyarbakir, one of the ten provinces in southeast Turkey affected by the tragedy, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag stated that more than 600 people had been the subject of investigations concerning collapsed structures. According to him, 79 building contractors, 74 who bear legal responsibility for buildings, 13 property owners, and 18 people who had altered buildings have been detained.
Several Turks have expressed their outrage at what they perceive to be dishonest construction methods and poor urban planning. With elections set for June, President Tayyip Erdogan will face the most significant electoral test of his two-decade leadership. He has pledged to rebuild homes within a year.