Türkiye launches investigation into 612 people after quake

Türkiye launches investigation into 612 people after quake

Türkiye launches investigation into 612 people after quake

Investigations have been launched against more than 600 people in relation to buildings that collapsed in Türkiye’s earthquake earlier this month, a government official said Saturday.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said 184 of the 612 suspects had been jailed pending trial. Those in custody include construction contractors and building owners or managers, he said in televised comments from a coordination center in Diyarbakir in southeast Türkiye.

“The detection of evidence in the buildings continues as a basis for criminal investigation,” Bozdağ added.

The aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6, which led to nearly 48,000 deaths in southern Türkiye and northern Syria, has seen Turks question the structural integrity of many of the 173,000 buildings that collapsed or were seriously damaged.

The mayor of a town close to the epicenter of the earthquake was detained as part of an investigation into collapsed buildings, the Cumhuriyet newspaper and other outlets reported Saturday.

AFAD, Türkiye’s disaster management agency, said that 9,470 aftershocks had hit the region affected by the quake.

“This will continue for a long time… we expect these aftershocks to last for at least two years,” AFAD General Manager Orhan Tatar said in a media briefing in Ankara. He said a 5.3-magnitude quake that hit Bor, a town around 150 miles (about 245 kilometers) west of the Feb. 6 epicenter, was considered “independent” of earlier temblors.