Interior minister blocks prosecution of state officials in 2011 Van earthquake case
Oya Armutçu ANKARA
DHA PhotoTurkey’s Interior Ministry has denied permission for an investigation into a former governor as well as disaster management agency (AFAD) officials, over the collapse of a hotel during an earthquake in the eastern province of Van in 2011.
This decision comes despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that an “effective and dissuasive criminal investigation was not conducted and the right to life was violated.”
On Nov. 9, Interior Minister Efkan Ala decided that no investigation was needed against Münir Karaloğlu, who was Van’s provincial governor at the time and is now the governor of Bursa, and Van Disaster and Emergency office head Cafer Giyik, on the grounds that “there is no evidence or action that shows any criminal responsibility.”
The eastern province of Van was shaken by two successive earthquakes in 2011, which claimed the lives of more than 600 people. Many people, including reporters who went to the city to cover the aftermath of the first quake, were residing in the Bayram Hotel, as its owner claimed that the building had been strengthened before the earthquake.
However, an earthquake aftershock caused the hotel to collapse on Nov. 9, 2011, claiming 24 lives.
Minister Ala’s decision came despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the case.
The Court made a decision on Sept. 17, 2013 over applications by the wife and children of retired police officer Selman Kerimoğlu, who was killed in the hotel collapse.
According to the Court’s decision, released in the Official Gazette on Oct. 30, 2013, an investigation regarding criminal responsibility on the part of Karaloğlu and AFAD officials should be conducted.