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In Antakya, in southeastern Turkey, thousands of people lost their homes in the earthquake. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

The first major trial in Turkey linked to the construction of buildings that collapsed during the earthquake of February 2023, which left more than 50,000 dead, opened on Wednesday.

According to the Turkish press, 11 defendants, including the owner of the Isias hotel, are appearing before a court in Adiyaman, in the southeast of the country. They are accused of conscious negligence while supervising the construction of the 10-story building that the earthquake destroyed, killing 72 people, including 24 Turkish Cypriot teenagers.

According to the indictment, cited by several Turkish media, at least one of the hotel's floors had been added illegally. Furthermore, an expert report highlighted the very poor quality of the construction materials.

The accused face sentences which could exceed 20 years of imprisonment. prison.

Located less than 100 kilometers from the epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of February 6, 2023, which killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and around 6,000 in Syria, the town of Adiyaman had was devastated.

The collapse of the Isias hotel aroused great emotion in the small Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC ), where 39 of the victims – teenagers and their companions who came to participate in a volleyball tournament – ​​were from.

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This is the greatest tragedy in the history of the separatist state, whose autonomy is only recognized by Ankara.

In addition to relatives of the deceased teenagers, the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed republic, Ünal Üstel, attended the opening of the trial.

More 260 people involved in the construction of buildings that collapsed in the earthquake were arrested in the following weeks, some while trying to flee Turkey.

The developer of a 12-story building in the city of Antakya, in the south of the country, called Résidence Rönesans, where several hundred residents died under the rubble, was arrested x27;Istanbul airport on February 10 while trying to travel to Montenegro.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged politically unscathed from the disaster, winning re-election a few months later.

He blamed the large number of deaths on corrupt real estate developers who paid local inspectors to use cheap building materials and illegally add extra floors to buildings.

Erdogan's critics counter that most of Turkey's major construction and real estate companies developed close relationships with the AKP during his 21 years in power.

By admin

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