Turkish president granted building regs amnesties to dodgy developments

Turkish president granted building regs amnesties to dodgy developments

Erdogan claimed to have “removed building standards-related headaches” for hundreds of thousands of people

Footage of Erdoğan campaigning in local elections in 2019 show him telling audiences that he had “removed building standards-related headaches for hundreds of thousands of citizens” with his amnesty policy, according to online news service businessinsider.com.

A BBC report last week quoted Pelin Pınar Giritlioğlu, Istanbul head of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers saying that up to 75,000 buildings across the affected earthquake zone in southern Turkey had been granted amnesties.

On payment of a fee, these amnesties grant legal exemption for structures built without the necessary building safety certificates.

The videos show Erdoğan speaking at several different locations and repeating his boast. Footage posted on the local news website duvarenglish.com shows the president addressing a meeting in Kahramanmaraş close to the recent earthquake’s epicentre.

In the video Erdoğan says: “We have solved the problems of 144,556 Kahramanmaraş citizens with the amnesty”.

The president made similar speeches in the cities of Hatay and Malatya, both of which were badly affected by the earthquake. Erdoğan had previously acknowledged the role played by building standards in earthquake disasters. In 2013, according to businessinsider, he tweeted that “buildings kill, not earthquakes”.

The amnesties are often referred to as ‘zoning peace’, a long-standing Turkish policy whereby, on payment of a fine, structures built without planning permission or not up to code are given retrospective permits. According to businessinsider.com the most recent iteration of the policy came in 2018, under Erdoğan’s presidency.

Buğra Gökçe, deputy secretary general of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, was quoted by Duvar saying that 294,165 buildings in the earthquake-affected areas had taken advantage of the amnesties.

Got a story? Email news@theconstructionindex.co.uk

Read More