Turkey arrests 133 people in connection with collapsed buildings

Turkey arrests 133 people in connection with collapsed buildings
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Courts in Turkey have detained 133 people, including contractors, architects and engineers involved in some of the tens of thousands of buildings destroyed or severely damaged after the earthquake

Turkish authorities have arrested 133 people as part of an investigation into the collapse of buildings in the recent deadly earthquakes, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said.

These arrests were made in connection with the 430 people allegedly responsible for the destroyed buildings.

As part of the investigation, two contractors of a building that was demolished in Antep were jailed pending trial after being questioned at the police station.

Another contractor was arrested at Istanbul airport while trying to flee abroad.

For years, endemic corruption and government policies allowed contractors to construct many unsafe buildings in Turkey.

Amnesties for contractors who skirted building codes encouraged a construction boom - even in earthquake-prone regions.

Opposition leaders have long accused President Erdogan's government of failing to enforce building codes and of failing to account for revenue from a levy imposed after the 1999 İzmit earthquake to ensure the seismic safety of residential and office buildings.

The president has accused his critics of lying and, in remarks so far has seemed to blame fate for the disaster, saying that such disasters "have always happened" and are "part of destiny's plan." He has pledged to begin reconstruction within a few weeks.