Building collapses in Turkey: The scope of the investigation grows

A man is seated next to a demolished building on a red cushion

According to the government, more than 600 people are currently being questioned in Turkey regarding the buildings that collapsed during the deadly earthquake on February 6.

Bekir Bozda, the justice minister, announced on Saturday that 184 suspects, including building contractors and property owners, had already been detained.

For many years, experts warned that widespread corruption and unfavorable government regulations made many new structures unsafe.

Over 50,000 deaths have now been officially confirmed in Turkey and Syria.

Mr. Bozda delivered the remarks live on television from south-eastern Turkey, the location of the 7+ magnitude earthquake that was immediately followed by a strong tremor.

His remarks demonstrated how the scope of the investigation had increased; two weeks prior, the authorities reported issuing 113 arrest warrants.

A mayor of a town near the epicenter of the tremors is among those detained, according to Turkish media.

After the earthquakes, more than 160,00 buildings in Turkey collapsed or suffered significant damage, raising the possibility that human error contributed to the severity of the natural disaster's effects.

The president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration is accused by opposition parties and some construction experts of failing to enforce building codes and attempting to shift responsibility for the catastrophe.

They claim that in order to promote a construction boom, including in earthquake-prone areas, government policies have permitted so-called amnesties for contractors who disregarded building regulations.

Although Mr. Erdogan has acknowledged shortcomings, it appears that he is blaming fate for the severity of the catastrophe.

Such occurrences are nothing new. On a recent trip to the area, he said, "It's part of destiny's plan.

After 20 years in office, Mr. Erdogan's future is in doubt due to impending elections, and his cries for national harmony have gone unanswered.

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