Building contractors arrested after İzmir earthquake

Nine people have been arrested as part of an investigation into buildings that collapsed during last week’s earthquake in the western İzmir province, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Thursday.

At least 114 people are believed to have died in the tremor, which saw significant damage to buildings including high-rise residencies.

Anadolu said 11 suspects in total were being sought in connection with six buildings that failed to withstand the earthquake.

This includes a contractor, referred to by his initials M.B.U, who remains in intensive care after the collapse of an apartment block which killed several of his family members. In a tragic twist of fate, M.B.U.’s father had named the building after his grandson, who died in the 1992 Erzincan earthquake, Sabah newspaper reported.

There has been growing public outrage over the high number of casualties caused by the earthquake that struck İzmir, which according to government figures measured 6.6 on the Richter scale.

Seismic events of similar magnitude have caused significantly less damage in other parts of the world, again turning attention to the quality of building construction in Turkey.

Speaking to Hürriyet newspaper, a construction worker involved in several of the building projects most effected by İzmir earthquake, said there had long been concerns about safety.

“The floor we stepped on was shaking while we were carrying supplies with a wheelbarrow,” he said.

“We were waiting for these buildings to collapse in the first earthquake that would happen here.”