Official: 131 people investigated over role in collapse of buildings
Turkish vice president said on Saturday that criminal investigations have been launched against 131 people over their alleged wrongdoings in the construction of buildings that collapsed in the twin earthquakes on 6 February.
Announcing that arrest orders for 111 suspects have already been issued and one has been taken into custody, Vice President Fuat Oktay told a midnight press conference:
"Units for investigation into felonies related to earthquake casualties have been established by the Ministry of Justice in 10 provinces in the earthquake zone. 131 suspects are currently under investigation for their role in collapse of buildings. One of these has been arrested so far, and arrest orders have been issued for 113."
Oktay said that operations to remove the rubble of collapsed buildings will begin once the search and rescue operations have been concluded.
"There will be legal processes involved in the operations," he added. "Technical inspections have to be carried out before the rubble is removed, and this will be followed by a legal process. The rubble will be quickly removed after the inspections, and subsequently new residences will be constructed."
The constructor of collapsed Roneasans Residences in Hatay, Mehmet Yasar Coskun, was arrested earlier on Saturday after he had been detained in Istanbul Airport, as he was allegedly trying to flee the country for Montenegro. Hundreds have been reportedly trapped under of the rubble of the residence complex built by Coskun's company.