Turkish president vows action after fatal building collapse

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 11, 2019

The eight-storey block in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city collapsed on Wednesday but the cause is not yet clear.

Earlier, health minister Fahrettin Koca increased the death toll to 17.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the site where the eight-story building in Kartal district collapsed Wednesday, leaving at least 17 people dead.

"There are lessons we need to learn", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, offering his condolences to the victims of the family members on Saturday.

Environment Minister Murat Kurum, who accompanied Erdogan, said the block housed 14 apartments and three businesses.

After the prosecutor's office said it was looking into the cause of the incident, Turkish television stations immediately ended their live broadcasts from the scene.

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Experts say a majority of buildings in Istanbul lack proper licenses and are built illegally or without engineering services.

The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted a year ago to people accused of an illegal building - a measure announced ahead of municipal elections this March. Five other relatives, including two children, are among the 13 people hospitalized in the collapse. Seven of them are in a serious condition.

Friends and relatives have been waiting near the apartment building for news of their missing loved ones as emergency teams, aided by sniffer dogs, worked around the clock.

"We estimate that there were 35 people trapped under the rubble and we have now accounted for 35", he said while stressing that search operations would continue as before.

There were 14 apartments and a total of 43 residents in the building, which was originally built 27 years ago.

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