Death toll at Istanbul building collapse reaches 21

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As the overall death toll rose to 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there were "many lessons to learn" from the tragedy.

Instanbul - The number of people confirmed dead after a multistory residential building collapsed in Istanbul has climbed to 16, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported Saturday.

The death toll from the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul rose to 21 on February 9, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said authorities have "lessons to learn" from the incident.

'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.

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.

He said the government would take "steps in a determined way" after investigators complete their work.

"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.

Turkish media said three of the seven floors had been illegally built. It was not immediately clear what caused the building.

Rescue workers remain at the site and it is unclear how many more people are missing. They have criticized a government decision to grant amnesty for illegal construction past year ahead of the country's general election. The building had 14 apartments with 43 people registered as residents.

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