Turkey investigates building contractors as quake toll rises

Turkey will widen an investigation into building contractors suspected of violating safety standards following its devastating earthquake, the interior minister said, as the country stepped up housing plans for victims.

Suleyman Soylu said 564 suspects had been identified so far, with 160 people formally arrested and many more still under investigation.

"Our cities will be built in the right places, our children will live in stronger cities. We know what kind of test we are facing, and we will come out of this stronger," he told state broadcaster TRT Haber.

President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to rebuild housing within one year.

In power for two decades, Erdogan faces elections within four months. Even before the quake, opinion polls showed he was under pressure from a cost of living crisis, which could worsen as the disaster has disrupted agricultural production.

Soylu said some 313,000 tents had been erected, with 100,000 container homes to be installed in the earthquake zone.

The number of people killed in Turkey in this month's devastating earthquakes has risen to 43,556, Soylu said overnight.

Soylu said there had been 7,930 aftershocks following the first quake on February 6 and that more than 600,000 apartments and 150,000 commercial premises had suffered at least moderate damage.

Turkey launched a temporary wage support scheme on Wednesday and banned layoffs in 10 cities to protect workers and businesses from the financial impact of the massive earthquake that hit the south of the country.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6 damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings and left millions homeless.

Around 865,000 people are living in tents and 23,500 in container homes, while 376,000 are in student dormitories and public guesthouses outside the earthquake zone, Erdogan said on Tuesday.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye


On Dubai Eye

  • Flying Taxis

    It sounds like an episode of The Jetsons, but the sight of flying taxis whizzing around our cities could be much closer than you think.

  • Tough penalties for deliberate tax evasion

    The UAE has said that tougher penalties will come into force from 1st August for not keeping proper corporate tax records.