Erdogan visits site of building collapse where at least 18 died in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits a young victim of the collapsed building at a hospital Saturday in Istanbul. At least 18 died from the building collapse Wednesday. Photo by Mirat Kula/Turkish Presidential Press Office/EPA

Feb. 10 (UPI) — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visiting the site of a building collapse where at least 18 people died, said “many lessons” have been learned.

The seven-story building in Istanbul collapsed Wednesday with about 30 residents inside. The Health Ministry announced the death toll had climbed from 15 as more bodies were recovered and 13 people were hospitalized, including two in serious condition, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Also Saturday, Erdodan went to the hospital to talk to the survivors and attended the funeral of the nine members of one family who died. Five other family members, including two children, remain hospitalized.

“This is not a natural disaster,” Erdogan said in a report by the Daily Sabah. “These events happened because of the illegal buildings constructed just for the sake of earning more money, without adhering to safety norms at all. We are examining all buildings in the area.”

Three of the eight floors had been illegally built, according to Turkish media.

Engineers and architects have said the illegal additional stories weakened the structure, putting the building at greater risk during an earthquake.

“Those who lost their loved ones in this incident should rest assured that the responsible will be punished,” Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Friday while visiting the site.

A 16-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl were saved from the debris Friday.

Rescuers continued to search for any trapped in the wreckage.


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