Turkey vowed on Sunday to investigate thoroughly anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings in the country’s devastating earthquakes nearly one week ago and has already ordered the detention of 113 suspects.

Vice President Fuat Oktay said overnight that 131 suspects had so far been identified as responsible for the collapse of some of the thousands of buildings flattened in the 10 provinces affected by the tremors early last Monday.

“Detention orders have been issued for 113 of them,” Oktay told reporters in a briefing at the disaster management coordination centre in Ankara.

“We will follow this up meticulously until the necessary judicial process is concluded, especially for buildings that suffered heavy damage and buildings that caused deaths and injuries.”

He said the justice ministry had established earthquake crimes investigation bureaus in the quake zone provinces to investigate deaths and injuries.

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Environment Minister Murat Kurum said that 24,921 buildings across the region had collapsed or were heavily damaged in the quake, based on assessments of more than 170,000 buildings.

Rescuers were still looking for survivors in the earthquake rubble six days after the disaster, which hit parts of Syria and Turkey. The death toll has exceeded 28,000 and is expected to rise further.

Opposition parties have accused President Tayyip Erdogan’s government of not enforcing building regulations, and of mis-spending special taxes levied after the last major earthquake in 1999 in order to make buildings more resistant to quakes.


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