Earthquake News

Turkey's Deadly Earthquake Exposes Risks of Ignoring Building Safety Regulations

Following Turkey's deadliest earthquake in more than a decade, which claimed the lives of over 35,000 individuals, the nation is grappling with public outcry over its sluggish response in aiding the disaster's affected residents. Videos have surfaced depicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commending construction ventures that crumbled, resulting in thousands of deaths. Critics assert that contractors were permitted to evade essential safety regulations, jeopardizing the lives of residents and bolstering their financial gains.

According to reports, more than 40,000 building amnesty certificates were granted before the 2018 general election in ten provinces affected by the earthquake, including hard-hit Gaziantep province. The amnesty allowed some builders to pay a fine and proceed with construction projects that did not meet code restrictions.

Although Erdogan has acknowledged initial problems with the government's response to the earthquake, he stated that no government could have been fully prepared for a disaster of this magnitude. However, Turkey's main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has held Erdogan responsible for the tragedy.

The main association of engineers and architects in Turkey has criticized the use of amnesties for builders, calling them an "invitation to death." The group stated that the practice is used for political gain and must be stopped.


In contrast, many countries, including the United States, have building codes in place to ensure that new homes are built to withstand earthquakes. However, older homes built before these standards existed are at risk in larger earthquakes. Retrofitting these homes with safety features can remediate most of the risks for a relatively modest investment of $7,000 to $20,000 in most cases.

The tragic aftermath of Turkey's deadly earthquake highlights the importance of building safety regulations in minimizing the loss of life and property damage caused by natural disasters. The use of construction amnesties for political gain and the disregard of safety features puts lives at risk and should be prevented.

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