Teen rescued from Turkey quake rubble, as government eyes lax building construction
A teen was pulled from the Turkish quake rubble early Friday morning. Meanwhile, concerns are rising over subpar building construction, which contributed to the quake's toll and is ongoing.
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But thousands of building permits were issued during the second half of 2010, before new quality control legislation came into effect, reports Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman, meaning that subpar construction may still continue for awhile unless the government intervenes.Skip to next paragraph
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The new legislation was delayed for enforcement until 2011, Today's Zaman reports, citing industry experts who said government determination "is not enough because homeowners and building contractors try to cut costs by economizing on the quality of materials and avoiding inspections on building standards whenever possible."
Because many people, even those without previous plans to build, put in applications ahead of the new legislation in order to avoid having to meet the newer, higher standards, in the last six months of 2010, the number of building permits approved "was equivalent to the average for three to four years [combined]," according to the newspaper.
Turkey originally rejected outside help for earthquake victims, but by the end of the week more than a dozen nations were allowed to contribute. Among them was neighboring Iran, which shares the earthquake zone along Turkey's eastern border.
IN PICTURES: Turkey's 7.2-magnitude earthquake
Iranian media reported that the Iranian Red Crescent had set up a first camp "only hours" after the earthquake hit, with supplies sent from the northwestern Iranian city of Khoy. Iranian officials said 465 tents were being set up this week in a second camp.
Israel also sent aid to its former ally. Relations have been strained since Israel's incursion into Gaza in late 2008, but particularly since the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010, when Israeli commandos seized control of a Turkish aid ship trying to break the blockade on Gaza, killing eight Turkish activists and a dual US-Turkish citizen.
Turkey says the countries' ties will not be mended until Israel apologizes, which the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu so far refuses to do.
"We have no prejudice against any country, but just because Israel is helping us does not mean that we will give up our principled decision against the country," said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.