Turkish police catch fugitive landowner of collapsed building that killed 100 in Feb. 6 quakes 

Turkish police apprehended Nurettin Özcan, the landowner wanted in connection with the collapsed building that resulted in 100 deaths during the Feb. 6 earthquakes in southeastern Diyarbakır province. Özcan was found during a routine ID check on Istanbul’s busy İstiklal Avenue. 

Duvar English

Police on Jan. 27 found fugitive landowner Nurettin Özcan wanted for the collapsed building that killed 100 during the Feb. 6 quakes in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province during a random ID check on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue. 

Özcan was the landowner of the Hisami Apartment Complex that collapsed and killed 100 residents during the Feb. 6 earthquakes. He was charged with “causing multiple deaths and injuries due to gross negligence” with a prison sentence of up to 22 years and six months.

Police were unable to locate him since the Jan. 18 arrest warrant on his name. 

Police stopped Özcan as part of routine security control on the touristic İstiklal Avenue, as he “exhibited suspicious and nervous behavior,” according to reporting by Anadolu Agency. He was detained and later arrested by a local court. 

The Feb. 6 quakes claimed more than 50,000 lives mainly in southeastern Hatay, epicenter Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman, and Gaziantep provinces according to official figures. Diyarbakır province had 414 deaths, mainly due to construction that violated building regulations.

The majority of deaths in Diyarbakır were from the Hisami building, which was revealed to be built without a permit or plan. 

The public prosecutor's office in Diyarbakır had launched an investigation into the few collapsed buildings in the province and issued criminal complaints against the contractors and landowners of the buildings.