Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Death toll climbs to 11 in Istanbul building collapse

Death toll climbs to 11 in Istanbul building collapse

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

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, speaks as he joins hundreds of mourners who attend the funeral prayers for nine members of Alemdar family killed in a collapsed apartment building, in Istanbul, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019.

The top three floors of the eight-storey apartment block in the city's Kartal district were reported to have been added illegally, according to Ali Yerlikaya, the Istanbul governor.

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As the overall death toll rose to 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there were "many lessons to learn" from the tragedy.

Erdogan, visiting the site on February 9, said: "We have a great number of lessons to learn from this. We will take the necessary measures". By Saturday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu increased the death toll to 18. The toll is up from a figure of 15 on Friday with 13 injured.

Authorities haven't disclosed how many people remain unaccounted for.

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The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted previous year to people accused of an illegal building - a measure announced ahead of municipal elections this March. The building had 14 apartments with 43 registered residents.

Engineers and architects regularly warn against the illegal addition of storeys to buildings which they say weakens structures, and poses a greater risk in the event of an natural disaster. In January 2017, two people died when another building collapsed in a working class part of town.

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