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Turkey-Syria earthquake: Death toll tops 41,000

Turkey-Syria earthquake: Death toll tops 41,000, Erdogan under fire for shoddy construction
7 min read
15 February, 2023
The death toll from the earthquake has crossed 41,000 as public anger in Turkey is directed towards their government for allowing property developers to build thousands of shoddy structures which were brutally exposed during the earthquake.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the state needed to enforce stricter building regulations in the country as he faces growing criticism for allegedly regularising thousands of poorly-built structures over the past several years. 

The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria has climbed over 41,000, and many survivors are enduring near-freezing winter temperatures as they have been left homeless by the devastation in cities in both countries. Hundreds of thousands of others have been injured, as  rescue and recovery efforts continue to press on.

Several reports have surfaced over the past few days that Erdogan is facing a severe backlash at home for granting an amnesty to companies that had constructed shoddy buildings, which were brutally exposed during last week's earthquakes.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, the Turkish President said that "collapsed buildings reminded the government of the need for stricter construction rules."

The damage assessment would be completed within a week and reconstruction would start in three months, he said. 

"We will rebuild all the houses and workplaces, destroyed or made uninhabitable by the earthquake, and hand them over to the rightful owners," he added.

Prosecutors have reportedly issued arrest warrants for scores of property developers as the death toll continues to rise.