TOKİ’s apartments for eastern Turkey quake victims crumbling apart
A total of 144 buildings, mostly four storeys high, were built by TOKİ to shelter those who lost their own houses after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Elazığ on March 8, 2010, claiming 41 victims. DHA PhotoThey were settled by Turkey’s housing administration (TOKİ) after their houses crumbled or were irreparably damaged in the 2010 earthquake in Elazığ, but now their new residences are also falling apart - this time without the help of a natural disaster.
The TOKİ apartments built for earthquake victim in villages near the eastern Turkish city Elazığ were completed two years ago, but residents have faced repeated problems with their buildings ever since. A number of them now have cracks in the walls and parts of their structures have collapsed, residents say.
“In two years there have been cracks inside the apartments and water leaks in bathrooms, in the plumbing and on the roofs. Balconies even fell from buildings after landslides,” says Ferdi Demir, one of the residents.
“People tried to escape from the trauma of being the victim of an earthquake, but they are now suffering in the houses built after the quake,” he added.
A total of 144 buildings, mostly four storeys high, were built by TOKİ to shelter those who lost their own houses after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Elazığ on March 8, 2010, claiming 41 victims.
The new apartments also took their share of real estate speculation and are now being sold at prices of between 75,000 Turkish Liras (around $35,000) and 120,000 liras (around $55,000), a considerable sum for rural areas.
However, most of the buildings’ heating systems have also broken down and many residents have resorted to installing makeshift stoves, which are typically used in villages. When these stoves were heated, smoke dangerously filled whole apartments due to the poor ventilation.
TOKİ is the biggest constructor currently operating in Turkey, orchestrating massive residential projects across the country, often in collaboration with private companies. TOKİ is also the main decision-maker for the construction of public buildings across Turkey, and its latest "jewel" is the controversial new presidential palace in Ankara, otherwise known as “Ak Saray” (White Palace), which reportedly has a staggering 1,150 rooms.