Turkey investigates construction contractors as quake toll rises
- According to the Interior Minister, 564 suspects have been identified and 160 people have been officially arrested.
- Said there were 7,930 aftershocks after the first earthquake on February 6.
- President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to rebuild housing within a year.
ISTANBUL: Turkey will expand investigation into building contractors suspected of breaching safety standards following its devastating earthquakesaid the interior minister, as the country stepped up its housing plans for the victims.
Suleyman Soylu said 564 suspects had been identified so far, with 160 people officially arrested and many more still under investigation.
“Our cities will be built in the right places, our children will live in stronger cities. We know what kind of test we are facing and we will come out stronger,” he told state broadcaster TRT Haber. .
President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to rebuild housing within a year.
In power for two decades, Erdogan faces elections in four months. Even before the earthquake, opinion polls showed he was under pressure from a cost-of-living crisis, which could worsen as the disaster disrupted agricultural production.
Soylu said some 313,000 tents had been erected, with 100,000 container houses to be set up in the earthquake zone.
The number of people killed in Turkey in this month’s devastating earthquakes rose to 43,556, Soylu said overnight.
Soylu said there were 7,930 aftershocks after the first quake on Feb. 6, and more than 600,000 apartments and 150,000 commercial premises suffered at least moderate damage.
Turkey on Wednesday launched a temporary wage support program and banned layoffs in 10 cities to protect workers and businesses from the financial impact of the severe earthquake that hit the south of the country.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6 damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings and left millions homeless.
About 865,000 people live in tents and 23,500 in containers, while 376,000 live in student dormitories and public boarding houses outside the earthquake zone, Erdogan said on Tuesday.