André Alves

Turkey Earthquake

February 2023

6th February 2023, two earthquakes of 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter scale hit the southeast of Turkey and the northern of Syria followed by almost 11,000 aftershocks.

Considered the largest disaster in modern Turkish history, more than 50,000 people died including thousands of Syrians who fled the war to start a new life just a few kilometers from their country. Thousands of buildings collapsed leaving nearly 2 million people homeless. In a country with high seismic risk, located at the intersection of three extremely active tectonic plates, the corruption of real estate developers and the Turkish government were the main causes of this disaster.

Erdogan came to power at the end of 2002 mainly due to the Izmit earthquake that hit the country in 1999 and the corruption scandals that followed that event. He promised to clean up the country from corruption by investing in strong buildings and infrastructures to develop the economy and improve its image, gradually creating the conditions for a new disaster. It was twenty years of disastrous and corrupt urban policy.