Turkey earthquakeWhatever happened to Turkey's earthquake tax?
After every powerful earthquake, Turkish citizens ask themselves one question: “Will my family and I also be trapped under rubble in the event of another earthquake?”
These worries and fears are not groundless. Many residents live with the fear over whether the buildings they live in will collapse should a major earthquake strike. The most recent powerful earthquake to hit Turkey occurred in the east of the country on 24 January 2020, killing 41 people and injuring more than 1,600.
Turkey lies on several fault lines and is currently on tenterhooks: two decades ago an earthquake struck the Marmara region that killed tens of thousands, mostly due to the low quality of materials used in buildings. And experts say another one is due in the near future.
There are almost 18 million buildings in Turkey, and at least 6.5 million of them are either not sturdy enough to withstand earthquakes, were built illegally or lack the proper foundations. These put them under the spotlight for urban renewal – or gentrification – and the Urban Planning and Environment Ministry has recently declared a new action plan aiming to transform 300,000 buildings annually.
While talking about this action plan, Urban Planning and Environment Minister Murat Kurum said urban renewal is "as important as the fight against terrorism".