Turkish economist says quakes will cost country 58 billion dollars

Turkish economist Ercan Türkan has put the cost of the two major earthquakes in southeastern Turkey at 58 billion dollars, saying that 31 billion dollars will be borne by the state and the remaining 27 billion dollars by households and firms.

Duvar English

Turkish economist Ercan Türkan has said that the cost of the two major earthquakes to the country is 58 billion dollars, of which 27 billion dollars will be paid by households and firms and the remaining 31 billion dollars by the public sector.

Columnist Alaattin Aktaş included the estimations of economist Türkan in the opinion piece “The cost of the quake is 58 billion dollars.”

“Ercan Türkan estimates the aid (collected) for the earthquake victims as 1.2 billion dollars. Once this amount is subtracted, the total cost is about 57 billion dollars,” Aktaş wrote.

Accordingly, economist Türkan defines two types of costs for the quakes, “stream cost” and “accumulation costs.” “Stream costs” are those resulting from labor force loss and aid costs, whereas “accumulation costs” are those resulting from the damage to buildings and infrastructure. The reconstruction works planned for the less damaged buildings are under this item.

Aktaş quoted economist Türkan as saying: “As much as it is important to know the total dimension of the costs, it is also important to know by whom this cost will be borne. It is possible to indicate that the public sector is facing a cost of 31 billion dollars and households and firms 27 billion dollars.”

Türkan also reportedly said that the state could have gathered this money before, spreading it over many years, as the country is prone to quakes. He said that would have been the case if the authorities had managed to “make the organization structure in a way that is dynamic and functions on its own,” especially in the aftermath of the 1999 Marmara quake.  

Turkey’s southeastern region was struck by two major earthquakes on Feb. 6, leading to the death of thousands of people. More than 160,000 buildings containing 520,000 apartments collapsed or were severely damaged by the disaster, the worst in the Turkish modern history.

The quakes are expected to have a deep psychological impact, with children particularly vulnerable.

The government has since faced fierce criticism over its inadequate response to the search and rescue efforts, with pointing out that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has not prepared the country for a major quake despite being in the power for the last 20 years.