Erdoğan targets construction firms as earthquake death toll tops 33,000
Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for scores of developers as the death toll from last week’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria tops 33,000 and the security situation in some areas of the disaster zone deteriorates.
Several people have already been detained, according to state-run media. The disaster comes just three months before elections that analysts expect to be Erdoğan’s toughest in his two decades in power.
At least 1mn individual units have been damaged by the earthquake, and a series of aftershocks that followed, said Murat Kurum, Turkish environment and urban planning minister, whose teams have so far scoured more than 17,000 buildings.
Traffic jams had formed on roads in and out of Hatay, one of the hardest-hit regions. Queues formed at petrol stations on the edge of the province. Makeshift soup kitchens served food at the roadside.
German rescue workers reported that gunfire was heard amid looting and growing tensions in parts of Hatay. Some universities are switching to online learning so dormitories can be used to house survivors.
The international response to the incident has also accelerated. Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani met Erdoğan on Sunday.
Greece’s foreign minister Nikos Dendias travelled to southern Turkey on Sunday along with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Meanwhile, Germany said it would issue visas to victims of the earthquake.
Nancy Faeser, interior minister, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the authorities wanted to enable “Turkish or Syrian families in Germany to be able to bring their close relatives from the disaster ...
...area, in an unbureaucratic way, so they can have a roof over their heads and receive medical treatment. With regular visas that are distributed quickly and are valid for three months.”
Many of them are the descendants of Gastarbeiter or guest workers who came from Turkey to take jobs in German industry during the 1970s and 1980s.