Turkey Reopens Borders, Detains 113 Suspects After Devastating Earthquake

The death toll from the devastating earthquake that recently struck Turkiye near its border with Syria has risen to over 28,000.[0] In response, Turkey has reopened the border crossing between Turkey and Armenia for the first time in 35 years to allow aid through.[1]

Turkey has also vowed to investigate thoroughly anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings in the country's disaster and has already detained 113 suspects. Vice President Fuat Oktay reported that 131 suspects had been identified, with detention orders already issued for 113 of them. Environment Minister Murat Kurum also stated that 24,921 buildings across the region had collapsed or were heavily damaged in the quake.[2]

Rescuers are still searching for survivors in the rubble and the death toll is expected to keep increasing.[2] Opposition parties have accused the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of not implementing building regulations and misusing special taxes generated after the 1999 earthquake to make structures more earthquake-resistant.[2]

State prosecutors in Adana, Sanliurfa, Osmaniye, and Diyarbakir have issued arrest orders for suspects believed to be responsible for the collapse of buildings.[2] Police also detained the developer of one residential complex in Antakya at Istanbul Airport as he attempted to board a flight for Montenegro.[2] The upmarket 12-storey residential complex was completed a decade ago and contained 249 apartments, but there is no information on the casualties in that building.[2]

Overall, Turkey is taking action to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the collapse of buildings in the recent earthquakes, with the death toll still expected to rise.

0. “Building Standards in Turkiye: A Gap Between Principles and Practice?” The People’s Vanguard of Davis, 11 Feb. 2023, https://www.davisvanguard.org/2023/02/building-standards-in-turkiye-a-gap-between-principles-and-practice

1. “We planned to rebuild hundreds of thousands buildings: Erdoğan – Türkiye News” Hurriyet Daily News, 11 Feb. 2023, https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/we-planned-to-rebuild-hundreds-of-thousands-buildings-erdogan-180800

2. “Turkey orders 113 arrests linked to collapsed buildings probe” Al Jazeera English, 12 Feb. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/12/more-than-100-arrested-in-turkey-amid-collapsed-building-probe