’Most buildings in Istanbul are illegal’

Hürriyet 14.01.2009

ISTANBUL - Urban planning in Turkey is chaotic, according to Sabri Erbakan, Undersecretariat for the Ministry of Public Works and Settlement. Speaking at a meeting organized by the Izmir branch of the Foundation of Building Inspection Establishments, he also said Turkey’s buildings were in dire need of significant earthquake proofing.

"When we return to Turkey from Europe, we ask ourselves, ’How did our cities turn out to be this way? How is it they were made like this?’" said Erbakan. "As of today, 14 institutions are generating (urban) plans, including the presidency. There can be no such thing."

Erbakan said building inspection was a very important matter for a country that had as many fault lines as Turkey and they were working to fix the problems in the law and its application. Erbakan said 85 percent of buildings in Istanbul were illegal, while the figure was 65 percent for Izmir and 45 percent for Ankara.

Erbakan said there were reports of newly constructed buildings in Istanbul that needed earthquake proofing. "A Japanese expert doing inspections near the Marmara Sea told me he did not know when the Istanbul earthquake will occur but either it is going to be one second from now, a year, or in 10 years’ time, and it will be a magnitude of seven or higher."

Erbakan said the Japanese expert told him that during such an earthquake, 65 percent of buildings would collapse. "That is why we have started work to make bridges and civil buildings earthquake proof." said Erbakan.
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