A Turkish court on Nov. 5 arrested seven people, including contractors, over the collapse of buildings following a major earthquake that shook the Aegean province of İzmir on Oct. 30.
The court ordered the release of two other suspects under judicial control, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The arrests came as part of an investigation launched by İzmir prosecutors over claims of code violations and negligent construction.
The suspects argued that the buildings were built under regulations at the time of construction.
Authorities said on Nov. 2 that a total of 11 detention warrants were issued in connection with the investigation, and nine people were placed under police custody.
Turkey sits on top of fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. Despite this, the country has a mix of cheap or illegal construction, which lead to serious damage and deaths when earthquakes hit.
It is known that private contracts undertake poor workmanship and use cheap, inadequate materials while building the houses. Also officials fail to enforce building codes regarding earthquake-resistant designs.
Following the 1999 Istanbul earthquake, which killed over 18,000 people, some contractors were criminally prosecutors, but only very few were found guilty.
The earthquake of Oct. 30 was centered in the Aegean Sea, northeast of the Greek island of Samos. A total of 114 people in İzmir have lost their lives in the powerful tremor.
There has been some debate over the magnitude of the earthquake. The US Geological Survey rated it 7.0, while Istanbul’s Kandilli Institute put it at 6.9.