In order to hold those responsible for the destruction caused by the 6 February earthquakes in Turkey accountable, the deadliest disaster in the country’s modern history with its death toll increasing every day, the Guardian’s former Turkey correspondent Constanze Letsch believes that the corruption network in the country must first be untangled.
In her column for the British newspaper on Wednesday, Letsch recalled more than 130 arrest warrants against corner-cutting contractors regarding the collapsed buildings and Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ’s promise to hold all those who were at fault accountable and argued that the government’s construction legislation changes “to facilitate the bloated growth of a destructive and insatiable construction sector,” should not be overlooked in the search of faults.
The fact that such a high number of buildings completely collapsed in the earthquake and that a considerable number of those were recently built created great anger in the public.
“This kind of greed and blatant profiteering are not solitary crimes,” said the journalist. “These residential complexes could not have been built without state-issued building permits and licences, without the approving signatures of nominally independent building inspectors, and without the necessary reports from laboratories doing quality control of construction materials.”
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power for 20 years and experts frequently warned that precautions should be taken since Turkey was a country with a high risk of earthquakes, Letsch pointed out and said:
“It [AKP] had the time and the means to tackle a notoriously fraudulent construction sector, rein in irresponsible contractors and provide safe, healthy housing for all citizens in an earthquake-prone country. It chose not to.”