Six days after two earthquakes caused thousands of buildings to collapse,
Turkish authorities detained or issued arrest warrants for about 130 people allegedly involved in substandard and illegal construction procedures as rescue workers continued to pluck a few survivors from the rubble on Sunday.
As of Sunday morning, the death toll from the earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday stood at 28,191, with another 80,000 or more injured.
This number was undoubtedly going to grow as more dead were discovered.
The attention shifted to who was to blame for not better preparing people in the earthquake-prone region, which includes a section of Syria that was already suffering from years of civil war, as sorrow also fueled resentment at the agonizingly delayed rescue attempts.
Although Turkey’s building regulations adhere to modern earthquake engineering requirements on paper, they are far too rarely enforced, which explains why thousands of structures collapsed or collapsed onto occupants.
Fuat Oktay, the vice president of Turkey, announced late on Saturday that 131 persons had arrest warrants out for them because they are thought to be responsible for collapsed structures.
The justice minister of Turkey has committed to holding those accountable, and prosecutors have started collecting building samples to use as proof of the construction materials.
Although the quakes were strong, victims, professionals, and citizens across Turkey attribute the increased destruction to the poor buildings.
According to the private DHA news agency and other media, authorities at Istanbul Airport detained two contractors on Sunday who is thought to be behind the damage to many structures in Adiyaman.
According to reports, the pair was traveling to Georgia.
Yavuz Karakus, a detained contractor, told reporters on Sunday: “My conscience is clear. I created 44 structures. Of these, four were destroyed. The DHA news agency claimed I followed the regulations in all I did.
According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, two additional people were detained in the province of Gaziantep on suspicion of removing columns from a structure that later fell to create more space.
A day earlier, the Justice Ministry of Turkey announced plans to create offices to investigate earthquake crimes.
The agencies’ objectives would be to identify the builders and other parties in the construction process, collect proof, train professionals like architects, geologists, and engineers, and examine building permits and occupation permits.
Before he could leave the country, officials stopped a building contractor on Friday at the Istanbul airport. In the historic city of Antakya, in the province of Hatay, he was the builder of a luxurious 12-story structure, the collapse of which resulted in an incalculable number of fatalities.
The detentions may assist in deflecting public ire away from local and state officials who let the ostensibly subpar builds proceed and toward builders and contractors.
In addition to being affected by a recession and rising inflation, the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must contend with presidential and legislative elections in May.
Many survivors, who lost loved ones, have directed their resentment and hatred toward the government.
The extensive devastation that has affected airports and roadways has overburdened the rescue teams, making it harder to move quickly.
Erdogan recognized earlier in the week that the significant destruction had hindered the early reaction.
In Turkey, 13.5 million people live in the 500 km (310 km) diameter worst-affected area, according to him. Erdogan said a calamity of this magnitude was uncommon and once more referred to it as the “disaster of the century” when touring earthquake-damaged communities on Saturday.
Rescue teams, including those from foreign nations, kept searching the debris in the hopes of locating more victims who might yet be able to overcome the bleak prospects.
Rescue workers urged stillness to hear the trapped people’s voices while they utilized thermal cameras to scan the mounds of metal and concrete.