More than 180 people arrested over collapse of buildings after Turkish earthquakes

A man walks among debris in southern Turkey  (AP)
A man walks among debris in southern Turkey (AP)

Turkey has arrested 184 people over the collapse of buildings in this month’s earthquakes.

Justice minister Bekir Bozdag said on Saturday that more than 600 people had been investigated.

Those being held in custody include construction contractors, those with responsibility for buildings, property owners and people who had alterations made.

The toll from the February 6 disaster has risen to 44,128 in Turkey, or more than 50,000 including victims in Syria.

More than 160,000 buildings, containing 520,000 apartments, collapsed or were severely damaged in Turkey.

The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has pledged to rebuild homes within a year, although experts say the authorities should put safety before speed. Some buildings that were meant to withstand tremors crumbled in the earthquakes.

Many survivors have left the region of southern Turkey that was hit or have been settled in tents and government-sponsored accommodation.

Under the regulations, individuals, institutions and organisations will be able to build residences and workplaces that they can donate to the urbanisation ministry and those properties will then be handed to those in need.

It comes after Turkey was hit by another earthquake on Saturday morning.

The 10km-deep quake with a magnitude of 5.5 hit the country’s central area, 40km south of Aksaray and 18km north-east of Emirgazi. No casualties have been reported so far.