Turkey Issues Arrest Warrants for Builders

Turkey has issued arrest warrants for more than 100 people the government suspects may be responsible for the collapse of many buildings during and after Monday’s earthquakes.

A few building contractors have already been arrested. Several of them were apprehended at airports.

Turkey does have construction codes, but they are rarely enforced.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry is establishing earthquake crime investigation bureaus to identify people responsible for the poor construction practices.

Rescue workers and family members continued Sunday to look for people trapped underneath the ruins. Their efforts in Turkey have been hampered by the rubble of thousands of collapsed buildings.

Eyup Muhcu, president of the Chamber of Architects of Turkey, told The Associated Press that many of the buildings that fell were built with inferior materials and methods, without regard for Turkey’s construction codes.

More than 28,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria, following Monday’s two major tremblors and scores of aftershocks, officials say, and millions more have been left homeless.

A Turkish rescue worker checks a collapsed building in Adiyaman, southern Turkey, Feb. 11, 2023. A Turkish rescue worker checks a collapsed building in Adiyaman, southern Turkey, Feb. 11, 2023.

At Least 28,000 Dead in Turkey, Syria Earthquake; Deaths Could Double

Martin Griffiths, United Nations aid chief, said he expects the death toll to double.

Syria’s northwestern rebel-held region was the country’s hardest hit area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that the earthquake was the "disaster of the century."

David Alexander, a professor of emergency planning at University College London told AP, "This is a disaster caused by shoddy construction, not by an earthquake."

Suzan van der Lee, a seismologist and professor at Northwestern University, told VOA Turkish’s Ozlem Tinaz, "Earthquakes like this are going to happen ... we just don’t know when. So, the best thing to do is to be as prepared as possible, buildings that are as safe as possible and know exactly what to do when you feel the ground shake."

The VOA Turkish Service contributed to this report, which includes some information from The Associated Press.