Death toll in Istanbul building collapse now 15

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"Twenty-one bodies were pulled out of the rubble including a person of central Asian origin", Soylu said late Saturday.

Murat Kurum, Turkey's minister for environment and urban planning, said the collapsed building had permits for only six floors.

Turkey's president says there are "many lessons to learn" from the collapse of a residential building in Istanbul where at least 17 people have died.

The death toll from the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul rose to 18 as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that authorities have "lessons to learn" from the incident.

Turkish media said the incident exposed the country's problem with illegal construction and was a warning sign against an quake risk.

Experts say a majority of buildings in Istanbul lack proper licenses and are built illegally or without engineering services.

Turkish cities have grown massively under Erdogan's 15 years in power. He did not say how many people remain unaccounted-for.

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Five other family members are among the 14 hospitalized.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials joined the funeral prayers for the Alemdar family following the president's first visit to the site of Wednesday's tragedy.

Thirteen out of 14 people who were rescued alive remain hospitalized with seven of them in serious condition.

Friends and relatives waited near the wreckage for news of their missing loved ones as emergency teams, aided by sniffer dogs, worked around the clock to reach possible survivors. They include a 16-year-old boy who was rescued on Friday.

Turkish authorities said 43 people were registered as living in the building.

"We estimate that there were 35 people trapped under the rubble and we have now accounted for 35", he said while stressing that search operations would continue as before.

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