Earthquake in Turkey: The investigation into the collapsed buildings intensifies – Arrest of 113 people

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Deputy Prime Minister Fuat Oktay said so far 131 suspects have been identified as responsible for the collapse of some of the thousands of houses leveled.

Turkish authorities today vowed to carry out a thorough investigation against anyone believed to be responsible for the collapse of buildings in Monday’s devastating earthquake and have already ordered the arrest of 113 people.

Deputy Prime Minister Fuat Oktai said that so far 131 suspects have been identified as responsible for the collapse of some of the thousands of houses leveled by the earthquake in the 10 affected provinces.

“Detention warrants have been issued against 113 people,” Oktay told reporters during a briefing at the disaster management center in Ankara.

“We will pursue this thoroughly until the necessary legal process is completed, especially for buildings that were severely damaged and buildings that caused deaths and injuries,” he said.

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According to him, the Ministry of Justice has set up earthquake-related crime investigation offices in the quake-hit provinces to investigate the circumstances of the deaths and injuries.

Environment Minister Murat Kurum said that 24,921 buildings in the area collapsed or suffered severe damage from the earthquake based on checks on over 170,000 buildings.

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Prosecutors in Adana ordered the arrest of 62 people as part of an investigation into the collapsed buildings, while prosecutors in Diyarbakir also sought the arrest of 33 people, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

The agency reported that eight people were arrested in Sanliurfa and 4 in Osmaniye in connection with the damaged buildings which are believed to have problems such as having their pillars removed.

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Police arrested at Istanbul airport the developer of a residential complex that collapsed in Antioch as he was preparing to board a flight bound for Montenegro. The arrest took place on Friday afternoon and he was officially taken into custody yesterday, the agency reported.

The luxury 12-storey residential complex was completed a decade ago and had 249 apartments. There are no reports of casualties in this building. The arrested man told prosecutors that he did not know the building had collapsed and that his trip to Montenegro was for unrelated reasons, Anadolu reported.

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“We have done all the procedures required by law. We had issued all the necessary permits,” he said according to Anadolu.

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