Last Updated on 28/11/2023
Following the country’s terrible twin earthquakes in February 2023, the Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister stated that efforts have increased to create a legislative framework and road map for Istanbul transformation.
A new road map to be set for the Istanbul transformation
According to the Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister, the government is preparing new plans for Istanbul transfrmation. The aim is to prepare the megacity for a potential high-magnitude earthquake while work to restore Turkey’s southeastern provinces continues.
He also stated that related authorities will present the road map to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a month of planning. Moreover, the government will implement a legislative framework, as well as a unique project for Istanbul transformation.
Furthermore, the minister declared that the earthquake law might not need implementation before Parliament convenes. In fact, in one or two months, the government can hold an extraordinary session of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Then it can approve a special law for Istanbul urban transformation.
Preparations against the eventual earthquake
The city, previously witnessed a significant earthquake damage in 1999. Therefore, it is on edge as a result of the numerous expert warnings about the impending “big one,”. Experts predict an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher.
According to experts, Istanbul is likely to be one of the riskiest cities in the world. The city has 5.8 million separate entities. It includes homes and businesses, 1.5 million of which are in danger. This means, two buildings would fall on each street in the event of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. According to the minister, this would have an impact on infrastructure and would impede travel. Therefore, he stated that many structures will erect inside reserve zones. Besides, the 600,000 dangerous structures will be relocate.
Furthermore, the government will offer assistance with on-site change. In fact, the government launched the “Half of Us” campaign as part of Istanbul transformation plan to tear down and rebuild their structures before to the election. 90,000 buildings totaling 1.2 million independent housing entities were the subject of applications. The government will take charge of half of the expenses of the project. Moreover, municipalities will take on the job if there are areas deficient in terms of social needs after demolishing and moving the riskiest buildings to the reserve regions.
Earthquake recovery efforts
Over 50,000 people died when two earthquakes of magnitudes 7.7 and 7.6 slammed several Turkish provinces on February 6. The earthquakes affected thousands of people in northern Syria as well as almost 14 million people in Turkey. The minister reiterated that “the earthquake is a top priority.” And this is how the decision of Istanbul transformation seems necessary.
He also declared that around 680,000 homes, 170,000 businesses, warehouses, barns, haylofts, and other similar structures collapsed, totaling 850,000 autonomous entities. Although the earthquakes affected 18 provinces and included in the scope of the earthquake recovery, it is common that only 11 provinces had direct damage by the earthquake.
The minister explained that there are two options for rebuilding the earthquake-damaged provinces: On-Site Istanbul transformation and Reserve Housing Areas. Some people who favor the use of reserve zones claim that a future earthquake could occur in the same spot. However, others criticize reserve areas for being too far off from one another and from the historic city centers. The distance between towns in reserve regions can be measured in kilometers. A regulation was recently passed to permit the use of lands that lost their status as forests, but there is only a small amount of space available. The minister stated that 182,000 homes in the reserve areas have received a bid.