At least 29 people have died and several more have been injured in a nightclub fire in Istanbul, Turkey. The blaze began in the basement of the 16-storey Masquerade club, which was closed for repairs in the Gayrettepe district. The cause was not immediately apparent. The victims are believed to have been involved in renovation work, according to Istanbul governor Davut Gül. At least one person is being treated in hospital. Gül announced that the investigation was underway and that the fire had been put out.

Five people have been arrested, including three officials from the workplace, the nightclub manager, and the renovation manager. Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu offered condolences: “May God have mercy on our citizens who lost their lives, and I wish a speedy recovery to our injured”. The site is still being investigated.

It is not the first time such an incident has hit Istanbul. A fire in the Colectiv nightclub in Romania in 2015 killed more than 60 people, with authorities subsequently finding it had numerous safety breaches. Last month, the Turkish government lost a vote of confidence following opposition criticism of its economic and political performance. Turkey, which has a population of 80 million people, has a GDP of around $700bn. The annual inflation rate rose to 15.6% in February, with a current account deficit of $36.7bn, adds the BBC

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