Turkey earthquake: Investigation into contractors expands after building collapses
By Reuters and Neil Gerrard24 February 2023
Turkey has expanded its investigation into building contractors after tens of thousands of buildings collapsed following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the region on 6 February, according to reports in Reuters.
Interior minister Suleyman Soylu told state broadcaster TRT Haber that more than 600,000 apartments and 150,000 commercial premises had suffered at least moderate damage. The death toll across Turkey and Syria is now estimated at close to 50,000.
Soylu said that the government was investigating whether contractors had violated safety standards. It has now identified 564 suspects, while 160 people have been formally arrested. More are still under investigation.
The news comes as President Tayyip Erdogan prepares for elections within four months. Opposition parties have accused his government of failing to enforce building regulations.
The government has also continued efforts to erect temporary shelters for people displaced by the earthquake. Soylu said that so far 313,000 tents have been erected, with 100,000 container homes to be installed in the disaster zone.