LOCAL > Third of 20 mln homes risk to be demolished

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey is getting ready for a major urban transformation project which includes the demolition of millions of buildings all around the country. The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry says around one-third of Turkey’s could be demolished, with one of the methods proposed being dynamite demolition

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The ministry says 6.5 million risky houses out of 20 million residential dwellings around Turkey need to be examined. Dangerous buildings that are 15 stories and higher will be demolished using dynamite. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

The ministry says 6.5 million risky houses out of 20 million residential dwellings around Turkey need to be examined. Dangerous buildings that are 15 stories and higher will be demolished using dynamite. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

Up to 6.5 million dwellings across Turkey could be demolished if they are deemed to be dangerous following an examination by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry. A new regulation will call for the demolition of dangerous buildings; buildings 15 stories and above will be demolished by dynamite, while those below this figure will be destroyed using other methods.

Seventy Turkish firms have already applied for the demolition tender, the ministry said, adding that foreign companies will be allowed to bid as joint ventures with Turkish firms because domestic companies do not posses the expertise needed to complete demolitions using explosives.

“Dynamite demolition is one of the six techniques that can be used in Turkey for building demolitions. From our observation it is understood that there is not enough practical experience [with this kind of demolition] in Turkey. The use of explosives for excavation, mining, and tunnel construction is common, but there is hardly any experience with building demolitions,” a ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News. “Turkey has little experience with explosive demolition, which can be dangerous if miscalculations occur.”

The ministry will open the tender to foreign companies after about 70 Turkish companies applied for the job failed to have a suitable amount of experience.

“We are researching how the demolition system is being conducted with modern, technological machines. This system will improve itself in time,” Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar was quoted as saying in the statement yesterday.

Methods used

Some have questioned the ministry’s decision to use dynamite for demolition purposes, claiming the risks outweigh the benefits and that Turkey does not have sufficient knowledge or practical skill in the area.

Head of the Chamber of Civil Engineers’ Istanbul branch Cemal Gökçe has said Turkey was not ready to use dynamite demolition due to a lack of know-how and trained engineers specialized in the practice.
“Demolition operations need good calculations. The potential damage to the environment and aftershocks could be very dangerous if the necessary measures are not taken because the urban transformation areas are not outside of [heavily populated] cities,” Gökçe told the Daily News in a telephone interview.

The scientific study of demolition is not very advanced in Turkey, Gökçe said. While the ministry is trying to accelerate its urban transformation efforts using dynamite demolition could turn out to be a dangerous mistake, he said, adding that Turkey’s urban transformation plans were based on altering old sections of cities, such as the historic Fatih district in Istanbul.

“They cannot use explosives in central Istanbul. That would be extremely dangerous,” Gökçe said, adding that the demolition of 6.5 million houses was unrealistic.

Appropriate training

The ministry has agreed with critics concerns and admitted that although many firms applied for the demolition tender their experience has been deemed insufficient. However, the ministry has claimed demolition by explosive is a safe option if carried out by companies with the appropriate training.
“As experience and knowledge on the matter increase, explosive demolition could be used in inner cities,” the ministry said. 

The demolition works are slated to last for 20 years, the ministry said.


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8/8/2012 8:29:58 PM

@Edem Gunes Ataşehir is an area totally lost control with high rise construction with buildings looking all different shapes and sizes This kind of uneducated skyline is not common in Europe but in china. It's amazing how Turkish construction is the reflection of a nation not European at all which I find very embarrassing. 

Red Tail

8/8/2012 8:04:28 PM

In a way it is a good thing. But what will happen to the people living in the houses if they can not afford to build a new one? And I can also forsee an enormous corruption and moutains of bribes when owners try to "protect" their rental appartments from being demolished or when people will have to bribe to get permisions to get new buildings. A lot of people with power will be very rich at the expense of the regular midlde class.

mara mcglothin

8/8/2012 7:40:31 PM

So now I guess the erdogan family is going into the demolition business DORUS In Turkey only the really poor people wil be put out of their houses to be able to move into those substandard new housing in the flood plain!!! Bribery anis alive and well lin Turkey. Those who have the money will continue to live in substandard housing.


8/8/2012 5:51:14 PM

Why dosen't the Turkish media highlight new urban areas in Turkey that looks a complete mess! Uneducated architects with mountain Turks labouring! You can imaging what the results are. Turkey will never have world class cities with this mentality. Who are these companies that are contracted to build third-world pavements and roads in Turkey! One must ask. 


8/8/2012 4:11:58 PM

I suppose that there are indeed many buildings in Turkey that do not conform with antiseismic specifications of today judging by the number of deaths at recent earthquakes. Demolishing the dangerous buildings is good as long as they are replaced with antiseismic ones

Faruk Beisser

8/8/2012 9:51:16 AM

On one hand it is laudable that finally the gecekondus and illegal buildings are being demolished as they are not quake proof, on the other hand Gülen's AKP and its TOKI will only profit by it. After all, it will bring billions into their coffers with the construction and the sale of new buildings. Let the ruble roll!

Tamer Aslantas

8/8/2012 9:28:46 AM

That's a start!

Tayyar Abi

8/8/2012 6:05:22 AM

I'm not sure that will get rid of all earthquake prone dwellings but at least they seem to be trying. Better this way than to have tens of thousands of people crushed by the next big one.

Blue Dotterel

8/8/2012 1:47:02 AM

I suspect a lot of the buildings could be renovated and outfitted for earthquakes without being demolished, but that wouldn't suit the AKP. Will this lead to the economic cleansing of much of the Fatih district, among others? I suspect that this is the real goal.

lara ulusoy

8/8/2012 1:44:09 AM

Tons of properties are still being sold all around Istanbul many of which are not earthquake proof....
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