21 May 2024

Turkish police have detained 12 people over collapsed buildings in the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, local media reported on Saturday, following the huge quake that hit Turkey.

Those taken into custody included contractors, DHA news agency said. At least 6,000 buildings collapsed after a 7.8-magnitude tremor hit the region, killing more than 25,000 people, sparking anger over the poor quality of housing.

There are expected to be more detentions after Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told reporters late Saturday that prosecutors issued 113 arrest warrants over the buildings.

One of those detained Saturday was a contractor for a building in Gaziantep, the agency said, adding he was found by police in Istanbul.

Prosecutors have launched a wave of investigations in provinces impacted including Kahramanmaras where Pazarcik district was at the epicentre of the quake.

Turkey’s justice ministry has ordered prosecutors in the 10 provinces to establish special “earthquake crimes investigation offices”.

On Friday, Turkish police apprehended a contractor of a block of high-rise luxury flats that toppled over in Hatay province.

He was detained at Istanbul airport after reportedly trying to flee the country.