Investigations have been launched against more than 600 people in connection with buildings that collapsed in Turkey’s catastrophic earthquake earlier this month, a government official said.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 184 of the 612 suspects have been jailed pending trial.
Those detained include construction contractors and building owners or managers, he said on Saturday in televised remarks from a coordination center in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey.
“The detection of evidence in the buildings continues as the basis for the criminal investigation,” Bozdag added.
The aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude disaster on February 6, which caused nearly 48,000 deaths in southern Turkey and northern Syria, has caused Turks to question the structural integrity of many of the 173,000 buildings that collapsed or were damaged. badly damaged.
Experts have said that many torn down structures were built with inferior materials and methods, and often did not meet government standards.
Opposition parties have accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration of failing to enforce building regulations.
The mayor of a town near the epicenter of the earthquake has been detained as part of an investigation into collapsed buildings, the Cumhuriyet newspaper and other media reported on Saturday.
Okkes Kavak, who heads the Nurdagi district in Gaziantep province and is a member of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, is accused of failing to ensure construction inspections were carried out.
AFAD, Turkey’s disaster management agency, said 9,470 aftershocks have hit the quake-hit region.
“This will go on for a long time…we expect these aftershocks to last at least two years,” general manager Orhan Tatar told a news conference in Ankara.
It said a magnitude 5.3 quake that struck Bor, a town about 150 miles west of the February 6 epicenter, is considered “independent” of previous tremors.