Turkey arrests 48 for looting, defrauding earthquake victims: state media

Turkish authorities have arrested 48 people for looting or trying to defraud victims after a powerful earthquake hit Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported, citing state media.

The suspects were held in eight different provinces as part of investigations into looting after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the region, news agency Anadolu said.

It later reported that 42 suspects were held for looting in southern Hatay province, while six were arrested over defrauding a victim in Gaziantep by telephone.

The tremor and its aftershocks killed nearly 26,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday announced a three-month state of emergency in the ten provinces in southeastern Turkey impacted by the tremor.

Prosecutors can now detain people for an extra three days from four days previously for looting crimes as part of extended powers under the state of emergency, according to a decree published in the official gazette Saturday.

Erdoğan earlier Saturday vowed Turkey would crack down on looters.

“We’ve announced a state of emergency,” he said during a visit to the quake-affected province of Diyarbakır.

“This means that, from now on, people involved in looting or kidnapping should know that the state’s firm hand is on their backs,” Erdoğan said.

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