Cyprus Mail

Lawyers say blocked from viewing file on collapsed hotel

File photo: Rescue workers at the Isias hotel where 35 Turkish Cypriots died

Turkish lawyers are seemingly being blocked from accessing records on the Isias hotel in Adiyaman, the hotel that collapsed during an earthquake earlier this month killing 35 Turkish Cypriots, reports from the north said on Tuesday.

According to the head of the bar association in Adiyaman, Bilal Dogan, a “confidentiality” decision was made for the records about the Isias hotel, which has led to lawyers, who filed a case against the owners, being unable to access information.

Families in the north of those who died in the collapse are being represented by the Turkish Cypriot bar association.

According to some reports, issues arose with the construction of the hotel, which at the time one eyewitness and survivor said had collapsed like a “house of cards.”

According to the preliminary report by Eastern Mediterranean University in the north, the quality of the concrete was apparently low.

“Debris found in the area of the building was carefully examined and it was found that the quality of the concrete was obviously poor and that the gravel, stones, and sand used proved to be from a stream. When considering the size of the stream pebbles, it has been found that they are often larger than the maximum grain size in the concrete to be used in such constructions. The distribution of gravel and sand in the concrete is not good and is easily dispersed during manual inspection,” the report said.

In previous days, lawyers in both Turkey and the north had filed a case against the owners of the hotel, who are now in custody.

On Saturday, the father and sons Ahmet, Mehmet and Efe Bozkurt, owners and managers of the collapsed hotel, were arrested in the course of the investigation into the building’s construction.

However, according to Avrupa newspaper, the report that confidentiality was placed on the files of the hotel was denied by the attorney-general’s office in Adiyaman.

Still though, one defence lawyer on the case said on Tuesday that they were blocked from seeing the file on the hotel.

But a lawyer of another athlete that died in the collapse said after the statement made by the attorney-general’s office that the Isias file is not confidential they will examine it in coming days.

Previously, Turkish Cypriot websites refer to a report in the Turkish Milliyet that the hotel, built as a family home, was left unoccupied for 10 years and sold to the Bozkurt company in 2001.

According to the operating certificate from Turkey’s ministry of culture and tourism, the hotel’s capacity was increased from 37 to 66 rooms in 2005 and the hotel’s capacity increased to 132 beds. A photo said to have been taken in the lobby before the hotel’s collapse was shared on social media showing that some pillars in the lobby were cut off.

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