Turkey detains three over Istanbul building collapse: Report

Suspects charged with 'killing by negligence' after 21 died in a building collapse last week, local media reported.

    The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted last year to people accused of illegal construction [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]
    The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted last year to people accused of illegal construction [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]

    Turkish authorities on Thursday detained three suspects in connection with the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul that claimed at least 21 lives, local media reported.

    The suspects held over the collapse in the residential district of Kartal on the Asian side of the city were identified as project officer Suzan Cayir, technical implementation supervisor Ugur Misirlioglu and building inspector Arzu Keles Boran, the state-run TRT television reported.

    They are charged with "killing by negligence", according to the NTV television.

    The eight-storey block where 43 people were registered as living crumbled last week but the cause still remains unclear.

    Security camera footage on HaberTurk television showed several people, including schoolchildren with backpacks, running away from the site as the building tumbled down and a cloud of dust engulfed the area.

    Friends and relatives could be seen near the wreckage, waiting for news of their missing loved ones as emergency teams, aided by sniffer dogs, worked around the clock to reach possible survivors.

    Local officials said three storeys were illegally added - a common practice in the country's largest metropolis of around 15 million people.

    After the prosecutor's office said it was looking into the cause of the incident, Turkish television stations immediately ended their live broadcasts from the scene.

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    Turkey's broadcasting watchdog later announced the prosecutor's office had ordered the media blackout, citing the investigation into the collapse as the reason.

    The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted last year to people accused of illegal construction - a measure announced ahead of municipal elections this March.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited the site on Saturday, said authorities have "lessons to learn" from the incident.

    SOURCE: News agencies