Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Turkey tremor raises concerns about construction standards

Turkey tremor raises concerns about construction standards

Turkey tremor raises concerns about construction standards

Turkey tremor raises concerns about construction standards

Advertisement
  • The earthquake killed over 24,000 people.
  • Building quality has deteriorated to the point where structures come apart like paper.
  • 12,141 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed or severely damaged.
Advertisement

Turkey: The apartments they worked so hard to save for, decorate, and make comfortable are now a pile of wreckage after a severe earthquake struck Turkey.

Buildings, both new and old, fell apart, some only six months old. Others sunk like concrete pancakes.

The full amount of the damage caused by Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks is unknown, but it unleashed disaster in Turkey and Syria, killing over 24,000 people.

Every day, the death toll in Turkey climbs. Building quality has deteriorated to the point where structures come apart like paper in a country with many fault lines and a history of big jolts.

According to experts, Turkey has procedures in place to prevent such a disaster. However, they are only lightly applied by construction corporations, the largest of which are frequently linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The boom in construction powered the substantial economic growth under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the early years of his rule. — AFP

Advertisement

According to officials, 12,141 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed or severely damaged.

Since the first quake was so huge, “damage was to be expected, but not the type of damage that you are seeing now”, said Mustafa Erdik, a professor at Istanbul-based Bogazici University.

Even if a structure collapses, individuals may usually hide until rescuers arrive, he said.

But this time, he added, buildings suffered “a pancake collapse”.

“The floors are piling on top of each other,” Erdik, also part of the Turkish Earthquake Foundation said, which means the chances of being found alive are slim.

Poor quality cement

Advertisement

So, what caused the buildings to collapse?

According to Zihni Tekin, a consultant at Istanbul Technical University, the causes are mainly related to poor quality concrete, which is often mixed with too much water and gravel, as well as too little concrete.

Other issues, according to the engineer, include steel rods that are too thin to hold the columns, limiting the building’s strength.

However, Tekin also lamented the low quality of education for engineers and architects, despite the fact that private colleges are sprouting up all throughout Turkey.

Turkish policymakers have also taken a risk by relaxing laws.

Since a tremor in northwestern Turkey in 1999, Turkey’s construction guidelines, modeled on California’s, have been routinely amended.

Advertisement

The most recent adjustment occurred in 2018.

“On paper, standards are observed, with contracts given to private businesses in charge of reviewing them,” said Aykut Koksal, an architect in Istanbul.

However, he continued, oversight of these agreements is inadequate, providing builders more discretion in following – or not obeying – the requirements.

Fury over negligence, greed

Heavy bureaucratic procedures further dilute who is liable if or when something goes wrong, according to Erdik.

“The steps and signatories are so many that at the end, it is difficult to identify who is responsible.”

Advertisement

To address this issue, he suggests requiring all performers to have malpractice insurance, which would ensure victims’ recompense from negligent contractors.

“That’s how it is elsewhere in the world and it should be in Turkey,” he said.

More than 12,000 buildings were either destroyed or seriously damaged in Turkey after the quake. — AFP

The obvious incompetence and avarice displayed by certain contractors has generated outrage, particularly after luxury flats built in the last 20 years collapsed like a pack of cards.

Many people are hoping that this quake would ultimately result in greater monitoring.

The first court complaint was filed on Friday in Diyarbakir, Turkey’s southeastern province, and others have since followed.

Advertisement

Erdogan’s vow to rebuild

What has particularly aroused eyebrows is Erdogan‘s emphasis on construction since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) took power in 2002.

The construction boom fueled significant economic development during Erdogan’s first years in power.

Experts say Turkey has the right regulations to prevent such a catastrophe, but they are applied loosely. — AFP

According to official data, the number of real estate enterprises has expanded by 43 percent in ten years, reaching 127,000 before the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

With Erdogan promising to reconstruct the devastated neighborhood within a year, the real estate boom is unlikely to abate.

Advertisement

Many people wonder about the dangers posed by high-rise buildings in Istanbul, which is bracing for its own passive jolt.

But “buildings with six, seven, and eight floors erected by tiny enterprises or even the families themselves” are Erdik’s main focus.

He is not the only one who is concerned about poor building safety.

Since Monday, he has gotten a never-ending stream of calls from developers requesting that he inspect their towers as soon as possible.

Also Read

Earthquake in Turkey & Syria: Teenage sisters rescued after 101 hours
Earthquake in Turkey & Syria: Teenage sisters rescued after 101 hours

101 hours after the earthquake, two teenage sisters were rescued from the...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Read More News On

Catch all the Syria News, turkey News, World News, Breaking News Event and Latest News Updates on The BOL News


Download The BOL News App to get the Daily News Update & Follow us on Google News.


End of Article

Next Story