Turkish housing agency head says new flats to be built at least 500 meters away from fault line

The head of Turkey’s state-run construction giant TOKİ has said that new houses in the earthquake-hit zone will be built “at least 500 meters away from the fault line.”

TOKİ head Ömer Bulut observes soil survey works in quake-hit Gaziantep's Nurdağı district.

Duvar English

The head of the Turkish Public Housing Development Administration (TOKİ), Ömer Bulut, on Feb. 22 visited the location of planned new houses in southeastern province Gaziantep’s Nurdağı after the district saw the demolishment of several apartments in two major earthquakes earlier this month.

Bulut observed TOKİ’s soil survey works here and then addressed the questions of reporters, according to Demirören news agency. Bulut said that just a couple of days after the Feb. 6-dated earthquakes, TOKİ started the relevant works to build new houses at the region.

He said that TOKİ had 133,000 buildings in 11 provinces affected by the earthquakes and none of these buildings have collapsed. “There have been (TOKİ) buildings that were damaged but there was no loss of life or property. With this discipline, we have started the works of location choice from day one (of the earthquakes),” he said.

He said that TOKİ has already started construction works in Gaziantep’s İslahiye and Nurdağı districts as well as Kilis province and Adıyaman’s Kahta district. He said that there were questions as to how TOKİ started construction works in such a short period of time. “It is because these places’ projects were ready (before the earthquakes) in terms of groundwork. With a small revision, we have made them ready.”

He said that they were also considering the criteria of closeness to the earthquake fault lines in their construction. “We are conducting our works with the condition that housing areas will be at least 500 meters away from the fault line, although technically we are normally allowed a distance up to 50-100 meters,” he said.

He said that soil survey was conducted for an area covering 1 million square meters in Nurdağı and they had plans to build 3,500-5,000 houses. He said that after they get samples of soil from the relevant area, the construction works will kick off.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised that reconstruction work would soon start in the earthquake zone. He has been telling people “to give me one year” for his government to complete the construction of high-quality and safe buildings.