Turkey to begin reconstruction in late February

Turkey’s Urbanization & Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum has announced that reconstruction work in Turkey will begin in all 10 cities impacted by the recent earthquakes before the end of February. According to state-run TRT television, the government aims to quickly rebuild the collapsed apartment buildings. This determination to rebuild comes as parliamentary and presidential elections are expected to take place by June 18.

During a brief visit to the Kahramanmaras region, which is close to the epicenter of the deadly earthquake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced frustrations and criticisms regarding his government’s response to the disaster. Although he acknowledged “shortcomings,” he defended the government’s reaction, stating that it’s not feasible to be fully prepared for such calamities. Erdogan also declared that the government’s goal is to rebuild the affected areas within one year, but experts believe that it could take significantly longer.

As part of their efforts to support the recovery process, Turkey is planning to offer tax waivers for share buybacks. Regulators are preparing for the resumption of equities trading after a halt last week due to the devastating earthquakes which claimed the lives of over 37,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

The earthquake that struck Turkey on Monday was of 7.8 magnitude, making it the worst to hit the country since 1939, when an earthquake in the east of the country killed approximately 33,000 people. The tremors were felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel, and a powerful aftershock of magnitude 7.5 followed at 1.24pm. The quakes affected a vast area, approximately 12 times the size of Belgium, causing shaking and destruction across the region.

The provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Hatay, Gaziantep, and Adıyaman in Turkey are among the worst affected areas. The quakes also hit the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo in Syria, as well as the coastal regions of Latakia and Tartus.

In addition to the reconstruction work in Turkey, experts have called for a review of what went wrong, as the country has implemented strict construction regulations since 1999 to ensure modern buildings can withstand such quakes. However, many recently-constructed apartment buildings in the earthquake zone still collapsed.

Image Credit: Tarik Haiga on Unsplash

Turkey reconstruction