Saturday August 17th, 2019 4:56PM

Illegal construction blamed in Istanbul building collapse

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish officials blamed illegal construction practices for the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul as they joined hundreds of mourners Saturday at a funeral for nine members of one family killed in the disaster.

As the overall death toll rose to 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there were "many lessons to learn" from the tragedy. He said the government would take "determined" steps after investigators complete their work and called for speedy urban renewal.

The eight-story residential building collapsed in the city's Kartal district Wednesday. By Saturday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu increased the death toll to 18. He said rescuers had reached another person under the rubble, who was thought to be dead.

Murat Kurum, Turkey's minister for environment and urban planning, said the collapsed building had permits for only six floors. He said someone had illegally built its top two floors with low quality concrete and sea sand instead of construction-grade concrete and stronger steel.

"In this area, we have faced a very serious problem with illegal businesses like this done to make more money," Erdogan told reporters on his first visit to the site.

Experts say a majority of buildings in Istanbul lack proper licenses and are built illegally or without engineering services. They have criticized a government decision to grant amnesty for illegal construction last year ahead of the country's general election.

Turkish cities have grown massively under Erdogan's 15 years in power. Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city of more than 15 million people, is also located on a seismic belt.

Earlier Saturday, Erdogan and other officials joined mourners at the funeral for nine members of the Alemdar family who lived in the collapsed building. Five other relatives, including two children, are among the 13 people hospitalized in the collapse. Seven of the injured were still in serious condition on Saturday.

Friends and relatives have been waiting near the apartment building for news of their missing loved ones as emergency teams, aided by sniffer dogs, worked around the clock. Fourteen people have been pulled alive from the rubble, including a 16-year-old boy on Friday.

Officials haven't disclosed how many people are still unaccounted for. The collapsed building had 14 apartments, 43 registered residents and three businesses.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Virginia's governor to focus on racial equity
Virginia's embattled governor says he wants to spend the remaining three years of his term pursuing racial "equity."
1:06PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Illegal construction blamed in Istanbul building collapse
Turkish officials blame illegal construction for the collapse of a building in Istanbul as the overall death toll rises to 18
1:02PM ( 6 minutes ago )
French yellow vest anti-govt protests turn violent in Paris
A French yellow vest protester's hand was ripped apart during violent clashes in Paris as demonstrators tried to storm the French National Assembly in a 13th consecutive week of unrest
12:38PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
7 get life in prison for Tunisia's 2015 terror attacks
A lawyer says Tunisian authorities have given seven suspects life in prison and handed out other sentences in the trial over two separate 2015 attacks in Tunisia that killed some 60 people, mainly tourists
11:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
Workers carefully remove remains of collapsed Genoa bridge
Work is underway to remove what is left of the Morandi Bridge, the key highway span in the Italian city of Genoa that collapsed in August, killing 43 people
11:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Death toll in Turkish building collapse up to 18
Turkey's interior minister says authorities at one time made contact with a person under the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in Istanbul
10:54AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Sen. Warren's expected 2020 bid banking on populist appeal
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is getting ready to enter the 2020 presidential contest on Saturday
10:25AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump's Year 3 aims for dramatic sequels to rival originals
As President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un for a second time, he's out to replicate the suspenseful buildup, make-or-break stakes and far-flung rendezvous of their first encounter
9:26AM ( 3 hours ago )
Leader of new climate panel talks of need for 'bold action'
House Democrats are confident a special committee they have set up on climate change can lead to "bold action." But before the committee can get to work, it first needs to find office space, hire staff and await Republican members
8:11AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
French yellow vest anti-govt protests turn violent in Paris
A French yellow vest protester's hand was ripped apart during violent clashes in Paris as demonstrators tried to storm the French National Assembly in a 13th consecutive week of unrest
12:38PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Shiffrin takes issue with comments from Vonn and Miller
Mikaela Shiffrin has taken issue with comments by Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller questioning her decision to sit out several events at the world championships
12:31PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Va. Dems call on Lt. Gov. Fairfax to resign
The Democratic Party of Virginia is calling for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign
12:25PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Calls mount for Virginia lieutenant governor's resignation
The head of Virginia's House of Delegates has joined the chorus of calls for the resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax
12:23PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Brazil's Flamengo criticized for licensing issues after fire
Brazil's soccer club Flamengo came under harsh criticism for licensing issues at its training ground on Saturday, a day after a fire ripped through a dormitory and left 10 dead
12:17PM ( 51 minutes ago )