Sheltering in a converted shipping container, İsmet Kaplan waits to hear if he's eligible for one of hundreds of thousands of homes President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised would replace those ruined by modern Turkey's deadliest earthquake in February.
Days after the quake and with a national election looming, Erdoğan made bold promises. While survivors were still emerging from rubble, he said half the disaster zone would be rebuilt within a year - a total of 319,000 homes.
Eight months on, more than a dozen officials, builders and engineers told Reuters that rising construction costs and economic uncertainty have deterred companies from bidding for government reconstruction contracts, making that deadline look hard to reach, especially in the worst-hit areas.
With work underway on a fraction of the planned new buildings in the devastated city of Adıyaman, Kaplan fears a long wait together with his disabled wife and other survivors. They are exposed to summer and winter temperatures in the lines of containers set up as temporary housing after the Feb. 6 disaster.
"I believe it will take years to move," said Kaplan, whose apartment block collapsed in the quake. His daughter, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren died under falling buildings.
By the government's own account, 40,000 homes will be ready by the end of November, leaving three months to finish nearly 280,000 more by February.
One senior government official with direct knowledge of the reconstruction plan said the target could be missed, citing insufficient fresh funding to hold new tenders amid rising costs. Another official also cited budget constraints and said new measures were needed to speed things up.
They both said the effort had taken a blow when fewer companies bid for the reconstruction tenders after a post-election economic policy U-turn in June sent the currency plunging.
The officials requested anonymity to speak freely.
Container homes which were sent from Qatar for earthquake survivors are seen at a container camp before its opening ceremony in Hatay, Turkey March 11, 2023.
In response to questions from Reuters, Erdoğan's office said construction was on schedule and in line with announced targets, saying work had started on 200,000 homes and "those completed will be delivered stage by stage in October, November and December."
"The disaster zone is the government's priority," it said, denying a slowdown in tenders, without providing numbers.
As of Aug. 6, construction was underway on 123,000 homes, according to a Reuters review of the most recent public ministry data, covering the six months from the earthquake.
The ministry data also showed construction had only started on 7% of almost 65,000 homes the government promised would be completed in Adıyaman province within two years of the quake.