Turkey's president visits Istanbul building collapse site

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"There are lessons we need to learn", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, offering his condolences to the victims of the family members on Saturday.

President Tayyip Erdogan talks to residents as he visits the site of a collapsed building in Istanbul, Turkey, February 9, 2019.

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

The residential building, in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city, collapsed on Wednesday.

The death toll from the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul has risen to 15, a Turkish government minister said on Friday. "We will take the necessary measures".

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Speaking to reporters at the site, Suleyman Soylu said that a total of 35 people were believed to be trapped under the wreckage and all of them were recovered.

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

Media reports said three of the eight floors had been illegally built - a relatively common practice in the metropolis of some 15 million people. They have criticized a government decision to grant amnesty for illegal construction past year ahead of the country's general election.

Fourteen apartments, housing at least 43 occupants were registered at the site, the city's governor said this week.

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.

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