Trial commences in Turkey for the devastating hotel collapse resulting from an earthquake.

Eleven defendants are currently on trial in Adiyaman, Turkey, accused of negligence while overseeing the construction of a building. This trial marks the first major legal proceedings related to the collapse of buildings during two earthquakes last year, resulting in over 50,000 deaths. Among the defendants are the owner of the Isias hotel, with five of the 11 individuals already arrested and facing charges that could lead to more than 20 years in prison if convicted. The collapse of the hotel caused the tragic deaths of 24 children from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, who had traveled to Turkey for a volleyball tournament. Along with a group of parents and chaperones, these lives could have been saved if adequate safety standards had been met. In total, 72 people lost their lives in this incident, including 39 individuals from northern Cyprus. The building was unlawfully transformed into a hotel in 2001, violating the original plan by erecting an additional floor. The plaintiffs in this case include the prime minister of northern Cyprus, Ünal Üstel. This catastrophe did not significantly affect Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political standing, as he won re-election months later. Erdoğan attributed the high death toll from the earthquakes, which claimed the lives of over 44,000 people in Turkey and nearly 6,000 people in Syria, to property developers who bribed local inspectors to cut costs by using substandard materials and constructing additional floors without permission. Around 200 individuals involved in poor building construction were immediately detained by Turkish police following the first 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Critics of Erdoğan argue that many of Turkey’s leading construction and real estate companies have established close ties with the governing AKP party during his 21-year tenure.

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