Turkey arrests three developers connected to quake-destroyed buildings

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Turkish authorities have detained three property developers connected to destroyed buildings in the quake-hit country.

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According to the Istanbul police, the developer Yavuz Karakus and his wife were arrested as they tried to leave the country for Georgia from Istanbul’s airport on Sunday.

A video previously released by Istanbul Police Department showed the arrest of property developer Mehmet Yasar Coskun at the airport on Friday (February 10) as he tried to leave the country for Montenegro.

Coskun is the contractor of the Ronesans Residence block which collapsed in Antakya.

The developer said in a statement to prosecutors that he did not know why the complex collapsed and that his desire to go to Montenegro was not connected with the disaster.

Mehmet Ertan Akay, developer of the Ayşe Mehmet Polat apartment complex which collapsed in the city of Gaziantep, was arrested in a video released by police on Saturday.

Following the quake disaster that killed over 29,695 in Turkey, the government vowed to investigate thoroughly anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that 131 suspects had so far been identified as responsible for the collapse of buildings in the 10 provinces affected by last Monday’s (February 6) tremors.

“Detention orders have been issued for 113 of them,” Vice Oktay told reporters in a briefing at the disaster management coordination center in Ankara.

“We will follow this up meticulously until the necessary judicial process is concluded, especially for buildings that suffered heavy damage and buildings that caused deaths and injuries.”

He said the justice ministry had established earthquake crimes investigation bureaus on the quake zone provinces to investigate deaths and injuries.

Search and rescue teams from the US continued efforts in Adiyaman with chances of finding more survivors growing more remote.

The toll in both countries from Monday’s earthquake and major aftershocks rose above 33,000 and looked set to keep growing. It was the deadliest quake in Turkey since 1939.

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