Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced on Feb. 12 that legal action had been taken against 134 suspects so far within the scope of the investigations regarding the demolished buildings in the quakes. He added that three people have been jailed pending trial.
The Justice Ministry decided to establish Earthquake Crimes Investigation Bureaus on Feb. 11 in the provinces affected by the earthquakes in the country's southeastern region in order to investigate the crimes related to the mass destruction of the provinces.
As of Feb. 13, the investigations continue in eight provinces affected by the quakes, according to the online news outlet Diken.
The first arrest occurred on Feb. 10 when Mehmet Yaşar Coşkun, the contractor of Rönesans Residence, which was destroyed in the earthquake in southeastern Turkey, was detained at Istanbul Airport while trying to flee abroad. According to reports, 1,000 people are under the rubble of his company's building in Hatay. He was later arrested.
Yavuz Karakuş and Sevilay Karakuş, the contractors of many buildings destroyed in the earthquake in Adıyaman, were caught at Istanbul Airport while trying to escape to Georgia. While being taken to the health check, journalists asked, "Is your conscience clear?" Answering the question, Yavuz Karakuş said, "My conscience is clear. I built 44 buildings; four were destroyed. I did everything according to the regulations."
A detention order was issued for the contractor Şükrü İşitmen, who caused the death of 123 people in total with the buildings he built. He was caught in Mersin.
Detention decision was made for another 42 people, including contractors, on the grounds that they cut the defective structures and girths in buildings destroyed by the earthquake in Diyarbakır. While 31 people were detained, it was revealed that two suspects had died.
Two contractors, one civil engineer, and one construction site chief have been detained in Gaziantep after their buildings caused the death of dozens of people. Two people, who were taken into custody on the charge of cutting the building’s columns, were arrested.
A detention order was ruled for 62 people in Adana.
The contractor Hasan Alpargün was brought to Adana from Northern Cyprus, where he was detained. Alpargün said that it was "destiny" for the demolition of the buildings. Seventy people died in only one of the buildings he built.
Eleven people, including the contractors of Osman Ağa Apartment where 33 people lost their lives, were detained.
Four of the six suspects for whom detention warrants were issued regarding the construction defects and column-cutting were arrested.
Malatya Chief Public Prosecutor launched an investigation regarding the demolished buildings in the province and ordered the detention of 31 people.
In the aftermath of the Feb. 6-dated major earthquakes, 170 lawyers filed a joint criminal complaint, demanding that authorities launch an investigation into the contractors of the demolished buildings and ban them from leaving the country pending trial.
As of Feb. 13 morning, the death toll from devastating earthquakes rose to 31,643, with the number of injured standing as 80,278.
The number of demolished buildings has been yet recorded as 6,444.