Death toll at Istanbul building collapse reaches 21

Fears for 30 trapped in rubble of fallen Istanbul flats

Turkey building collapse death toll rises to 15

Earlier, health minister Fahrettin Koca increased the death toll to 17.

Search and rescue teams continue rescue work at the site of a building collapse in Kartal district of Istanbul, Turkey on February 08, 2019.

Turkey's president helped carry the coffin of one of the victims of the apartment building collapse in Istanbul today as the death toll hit 17.

'In this area, we have faced a very serious problem with illegal businesses like this done to make more money, ' President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters at the scene. "We will take the necessary measures".

The president also went to the hospital to talk to the survivors, and then attended the funeral of the nine members of one family who lost their lives in the disaster.

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Officials haven't disclosed how many people are still unaccounted for. He said rescuers had reached another person under the rubble, who was thought to be dead.

Fourteen apartments were registered at the site but the top three floors of the building had been built illegally, the city's governor Ali Yerlikaya has said.

The collapse fanned criticism of a government amnesty granted previous year to people accused of illegal building - a measure announced ahead of municipal elections this March.

Thirty residents were inside the building, which contained 14 apartments, when it collapsed Wednesday, Anadolu said.

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 quake. In January 2017, two people died when another building collapsed in a working-class part of the city.

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