Earthquake Unveils Turkey’s Many Ugly Faces, by Burak Bekdil

Tragedy often brings out the worst in governments. From Burak Bekdil at

The worst disaster in modern Turkey’s history, the earthquake killed, as of February 15, more than 35,000 people and injured 100,000. The death toll will likely reach 40,000 or more. According to one estimate, the quake will result in $84 billion in economic losses to Turkey, more than 10% of gross domestic product.

It was not the quake that killed tens of thousands, but politics and suicidal profit-maximization behavior on individual level.

[I]n the aftermath of the 1999 quake, Erdoğan said: “What broke here is not the fault line … It is [the state’s] sense of shame. This is [the result of] poor building planning and stealing from construction materials.” Now that he is in power, Erdoğan explains that the loss of life in this month’s earthquake was (God’s) fate.

As part of his election campaign in 2018, Erdoğan granted “amnesty” to 7.4 million applications for unregulated buildings in return for fees, of which his government collected more than $13 billion.

More than 10,000 buildings were destroyed in the latest earthquake.

With the amnesty, contractors were allowed to skip crucial safety regulations, increasing their profits but putting residents at risk. Few buyers and tenants could guess that those permits would be their death certificates.

Continue reading

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.