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After Massive Turkey Quakes, Istanbul Residents Fear The Next One

After that earthquake, the Turkish seismic design code was enhanced and in late 2000s, the Turkish government launched a large-scale urban transformation plan to replace the buildings unsafe for earthquakes with new seismically improved ones.

Both Rahvanci and Urs said that their buildings did not have the necessary document, the so-called “earthquake report”, showing that the buildings were in line with the new regulations adopted after the earthquake in the Marmara region.

Another Kadikoy resident, Ugur Kumtas, said that he partially trusted the safety of the building he lived in with his family.

The building’s construction was finished in late 2020 and it is built according to the new regulations, according to 57-year-old Kumtas, who works as a mechanical engineer.

“I feel 80 percent safe about the building I live in,” he told Al Jazeera. “The building might get damaged in case of a powerful earthquake, but I believe it will not collapse.”

Nonetheless, Kumtas expressed his worries over the risk of being caught by an earthquake in another building when he is out with his family.

All three Istanbul residents who talked to Al Jazeera said that they did not have any preparation for a possible tremor apart from having an emergency bag at home.

According to official data, there are 817,000 buildings in Istanbul that were built before 2000, which corresponds to 70.2 percent of all the buildings in the city.

Earthquake death toll tracker


New buildings collapsed

After the tremors in southeastern Turkey last week, some buildings that were built after 2000 collapsed. However, reports have said the majority of the damaged buildings were built before the year 2000.

Sukru Ersoy said that the majority of the buildings constructed after the 1999 earthquake across Turkey were in line with the new regulations and consist of improved materials.

“However, corruption is high in the construction sector in Turkey. And therefore, there were abuses,” he told Al Jazeera, adding that these happened particularly during building inspections in the past.

“And we see this in the earthquake in southeastern Turkey. Some new and luxurious buildings also collapsed,” Ersoy said.

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