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Feb 10 2019

Turkey’s top religious official blasted over comments on İstanbul building collapse

The head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs directorate has come under criticism over a speech delivered at a funeral for a family of victims of the Wednesday multi-story residential building collapse in İstanbul.

Speaking at the funeral of nine family members, who were among the 21 killed in the collapse in İstanbul’s Kartal district, Ali Erbaş said the accident was a test from God.

‘’We are in a world of trial. God tests all of his created servants in some way,’’ Erbaş said on Saturday regarding the accident, which Turkish officials blamed on illegal construction practices.

The head of Turkey’s top religious body was slammed on social media over his comments, for attributing human negligence to God and downplaying the human role in the tragedy.

‘’This test is always for the poor,’’ one Twitter user said.

''If the head of Religious Affairs can come out and say ‘’God is testing those buried beneath the rubble,’’ than there must be action taken against that person.’’ prominent lawyer Ömer Eminağaoğlu said on Twitter.

‘’In other words, the person building that structure, those responsible for auditing are not at fault. It is [just a matter of] God's test,’’ one user wrote.

"The building is illegal, a land mine was placed in the country with the thousands of tenders going to pro-government companies without supervision… These are not tests, but [the doings of] murderers!’’ another user wrote.