The solidity of buildings in Turkey is beginning to be questioned. About 10 people, mostly contractors, were arrested on Saturday (11) in the country, where mourning is now giving way to anger, five days after the earthquakes in Kahramanmaras and Gaziantepe. Despite anti-seismic regulations, many buildings were not up to the required standards. – Céline Pierre-Magnani, special envoy of RFI to Diyarbakir

The question of the resistance of buildings to earthquakes is a recurring problem in Turkey. Thousands of buildings collapsed in the Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep earthquakes on Monday, revealing their construction problems.

With rescue operations to find potential survivors coming to an end, the question now is finding those responsible. “It’s not the earthquakes, but the buildings that kill”, repeat prevention specialists. This Saturday, local media reported that a dozen people working in the construction sector were arrested in the country.

Fragile buildings

Ali, a 60-year-old man from Diyarbakir, one of the 10 provinces affected by the disaster, saw his building collapse. He shows a photo of the damage where it is possible to see that a whole part of the property has collapsed.

“Well, the building you are going to see now is the one where we used to live”, he comments. “They did it wrong, that’s why it collapsed like that. No cement, nothing at all, they used wood chipboard. That’s why many died. I have five cousins ​​who were there. We are currently working to get them out,” he says. There is little chance of finding Ali’s family alive. One of them, who lived on the 6th floor, miraculously survived.

AKP Policies

The urban transformation policies of the AKP, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, run the risk of weighing heavily on the acronym’s balance sheet, just three months away from presidential and legislative elections.

More arrests are expected after the Diyarbaki prosecutor announced earlier on Saturday that he had issued 29 warrants, according to Turkish media. Turkey’s Ministry of Justice has ordered prosecutors in all 10 provinces to open “inquiries to investigate earthquake-related crimes”.

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