Turkey building collapse death toll rises to 17

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The eight-storey block in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city collapsed on Wednesday but the cause is not yet clear.

Mourners attend the funeral prayers for nine members of Alemdar family killed in a collapsed apartment building, in Istanbul, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019.

Murat Kurum, Turkey's minister for environment and urban planning, said the collapsed building had permits for only six floors.

He said the government would take "determined" steps after investigators complete their work and called for speedy urban renewal.

"So far 14 of our fellow citizens have been lost and another 14 people have been brought out of the rubble alive", Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told a news conference.


"Those who are responsible will be held to account", Soylu said.

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.

Mr Erdogan also visited a hospital where more than a dozen people injured in the collapse are being treated.

However, top three floors of the building were built illegally, the governor added. They have criticized a government decision to grant amnesty for illegal construction past year ahead of the country's general election. Five other relatives, including two children, are among the 13 people hospitalized in the collapse. Chief Doctor Recep Demirhan says that two are in very serious condition, according to Turkey's official Anadolu news agency. A day earlier, a five-year-old girl was rescued from the debris.

Officials have not disclosed how many people are still unaccounted for. The building had 14 apartments with 43 people registered as residents.

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