Secrecy order on collapsed hotel investigation sparks reactions
A secrecy order concerning criminal investigation on the collapse of a hotel in the earthquake on 6 February in Turkey's southeastern city of Adiyaman sparked reactions both in Turkey and Northern Cyprus, where people are mourning after the death of 35 Turkish Cypriots, most of them children and teenagers, in the rubble of the destroyed building.
The order is under heavy criticism particularly because political motivations are suspected, as the owner of the hotel is reportedly a senior member of Turkish Youth Foundation (TUGVA), a top official of which is Bilal Erdogan, the son of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Adiyaman's Grand Isias Hotel was allowed to operate after it had failed technical inspections and was temporarily shut down, and 65 people were killed as the building was reduced to rubble within a matter of minutes when the quake struck early on 6 February.
35 of the victims were young players, coaches and managers of volleyball teams from Norther Cyprus, and 30 were tourist guides.
While the only search and rescue operation through the rubble was carried out by teams who arrived from the island and the required equipment to lift heavy blocks could be provided only after it was too late, the Cypriot teams took back samples that have been analyzed by the Department of Civil Engineering at Eastern Mediterranean University in Northern Cyprus. The analysis concluded that river gravel and sand had been used in manufacturing the concrete used in the building and that the concrete was of extremely low quality.
Turkish journalist and TV host Gokmen Karadag asked after the secrecy order was issued:
"A secrecy order has been imposed on the legal investigation on the collapse of Adiyaman's Isias Hotel where 65 people died. Why? Is it because the hotel belongs to Ahmet Bozkurt, a member of TUGVA's advisory board in Adiyaman?"
Tagging #isiasinhesabisorulacak (isias will be brought to justice), Turkish singer and actress Gulben Ergen said:
"Do we even know why there is a secrecy order on the investigation? Ah, our young ones so full of hope."
A father from Northern Cypriot posted an image of one of the young victims, using the same hashtag, and wrote:
"My daughter who had won six chess championships in Northern Cyprus will not be able to compete for a seventh time!"
Journalist Cenk Mutluyakali posted the clipping of a Turkish Cypriot daily headlined "Let's call for justice for our children together."
Journalist Nazar Eriskin said:
"This is no fate, nor the nature of things. We want everybody who played a part in the disaster that so blatantly unfolded to be punished. We will bring Isias to justice."