Turkey investigates building contractors as earthquake deaths top 33,000

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Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into contractors allegedly linked to deadly building collapses that occurred after a massive earthquake and aftershocks struck last Monday.

The latest: Turkish rescuers were still pulling survivors from building rubble alive on Monday. Among them was a 40-year-old woman, who was found among wreckage in Islahiye, Gaziantep province, some 170 hours after the quake, per AP.

The big picture: Thousands of buildings have collapsed across Turkey and Syria, with the sheer scale of the destruction and freezing temperatures hampering rescue efforts even as the total death toll surpassed 33,000 on Sunday.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters Sunday that 134 people were being investigated for their roles in constructing buildings that were unable to withstand the quakes.
Three people have been arrested, seven others were detained and seven others were banned from leaving Turkey, Bozdag added, per Politico.
While Turkey’s construction codes do meet current earthquake-engineering standards, they are rarely enforced, helping explain why so many buildings collapsed, AP reported.
Turkish Environment Minister Murat Kurum has estimated that nearly 25,000 buildings have either collapsed or been heavily damaged by the quakes, per the Guardian.




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