Quake-hit Turkey issues 113 building arrest warrants

Officials in Turkey say 113 arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the construction of buildings that collapsed in Monday’s earthquake, the BBC reports.

Turkish police have already taken at least 12 people into custody, including building contractors.

Meanwhile, unrest in southern Turkey has disrupted rescue efforts in some places.

The number of people confirmed to have died in Turkey and Syria has risen to more than 28,000.

More arrests are expected – but the action will by seen by many as an attempt to divert overall blame for the disaster.

For years, experts warned that many new buildings in Turkey were unsafe due to endemic corruption and government policies.

Those policies allowed so-called amnesties for contractors who swerved building regulations, in order to encourage a construction boom – including in earthquake-prone regions.

Thousands of buildings collapsed during the earthquake, raising questions about whether the natural disaster’s impact was made worse by human failings.

On the sixth day after the quake hit, the situation is growing more desperate.

On Saturday, German rescuers and the Austrian army paused search operations because of clashes between unnamed groups in Hatay province. Security is expected to worsen as food supplies dwindle, one rescuer said.

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