Author: Adam Samson Ayla Jean Yackley

Erdoğan under fire as shoddy Turkish building standards exposed by earthquake

Source(s): Financial Times

President faces backlash over 2018 amnesty for faults in millions of buildings despite history of natural disasters

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is facing a growing backlash for overseeing a sweeping 2018 amnesty programme that forgave faults in millions of buildings across Turkey, regularising poor construction practices that were brutally exposed in last week’s earthquake.


Urban planning specialists said the scheme, a vote-winning measure pushed through before the 2018 presidential election that Erdoğan won, had a scope that was broader than many past amnesties in Turkey, defying warnings about the implications for earthquake resilience.

Duygu Cihanger Ribeiro, a professor at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and board member of Turkey’s Chamber of City Planners, said the “huge scope” applied to “almost everything that can be illegally built”.


The criticisms underscore how the devastating quake has become a critical political issue for Erdoğan just three months before a hotly contested general election. He was already facing public discontent over his government’s early response to the quake, which critics have said was too slow and disorganised.

The disater, which has now surpassed the 1939 quake in fatalities, has killed 35,418 people in Turkey and a further 3,580 in neighbouring Syria, with thousands of buildings toppled. Civil engineers and earthquake specialists said the destruction was significantly worsened because of insufficient building standards in the quake-prone areas.


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Hazards Earthquake
Country and region Syrian Arab Republic Türkiye
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