Turkey building collapse death toll hits 14

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President Erdogan spoke to reporters Saturday from the scene, saying there are "many lessons to learn" and the government would take "steps in a determined way" after investigators complete their work.

Experts from the Istanbul branch of the chamber of civil engineers who visited the site concluded that the "load-bearing columns had lost the capacity to carry the weight" of the building.

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The death toll from the collapse of an eight-storey building in Istanbul has risen to 21 while 14 others were injured, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has told Turkey's Demiroren news agency. "Twenty-one bodies were pulled out of the rubble including a person of central Asian origin", Soylu said late Saturday.

Rescue teams were last night still searching the rubble of an apartment block in Istanbul after a local official warned that there could have been as many as 30 people inside when it collapsed on Wednesday. The building had 14 apartments with 43 registered residents.

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Turkish media said three of the seven floors had been illegally built.

The collapse fuelled criticism of a government amnesty granted previous year to people accused of building illegally - a measure announced before municipal elections this March.

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Engineers and architects regularly sound the alarm against illegal additional storeys to buildings which they say weaken the constructions' structure and puts them at greater risk in the event of an quake. In January 2017, two people died when another building collapsed in a working class part of town.

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