Turkey detains 12 over collapsed buildings after quake: report

A local resident walks past a destroyed building in Hatay, on February 11, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast. - Rescuers pulled out children on February 10, 2023, from the rubble of the Turkey-Syria earthquake that struck on February 6, 2023, as the toll approached 23,000 and a winter freeze compounded the suffering for nearly one million people estimated to be in urgent need of food. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

Turkish police have detained 12 people over collapsed buildings in the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, local media reported on Saturday, following the massive quake that hit Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported.

Those taken into custody included contractors, the 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, and 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 İstanbul.

Prosecutors have launched a wave of investigations in provinces impacted, including Kahramanmaraş, where Pazarcık district was at the epicenter of the quake.

Turkey’s justice ministry has ordered prosecutors in the ten 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 İstanbul airport after reportedly trying to flee the country.

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