Don’t forget to take your credit card during an earthquake
Aug. 17 was the 17th anniversary of an earthquake whose aftershocks continue in our conscience to this day.
According to official numbers, 17,480 souls were lost, 23,781 were wounded and 600,000 lost their houses.
Right after the next day of the earthquake, statements started to fly: “We will draw our lessons. We will prevent unplanned urbanization and construction. Those responsible will be accountable to justice.”
Let’s start from the last one.
Thousands of legal cases were opened after the disaster. Some 40,000 people were accused. All of these legal cases dropped as they were subject to the statute of limitations in 2007.
The number one scapegoat of the disaster, Veli Göçer, remained in prison until just 2011.
Condos and shopping malls
If you were to ask what happened to unplanned construction...That became a matter of rent and profit!
Unplanned construction became amplified, got bigger and bigger, turning into condominiums and shopping malls.
It became a huge source of income for contractors and “influential figures.” The law to inspect the construction sector became a martyr of bureaucracy. Perhaps you have heard about it or perhaps you have read it somewhere.
From Kartal to Kadıköy, from Üsküdar to Esenler, of the 480 spaces designated as muster stations during an earthquake, 270 have been used for other purposes.
The system designed to see urban transformation plans just as lucrative business to squeeze maximum profit from the most popular neighborhoods is also swallowing the spaces designated as places to gather after a temblor.
It devours viciously, shamelessly.
Science tells us that a big earthquake is coming. Obviously we all hope that a similar disaster will not happen again. But science is telling us that in distant or near future, a Marmara earthquake of big or mid-sized intensity will knock on our door.
If we continue as we are, we will feel lucky if we can find a tree under whose shadow we can seek refuge after the earthquake.
They say there are no places left but cemeteries to seek refuge; it is sad but true, unfortunately.
Don’t forget your credit card
Some more friendly advice from me to you, dear reader:
If you still have an earthquake bag ready, don’t forget to put your credit card in it.
God forbid if you were to go to the meeting point after the earthquake and you see “blablabla city condos” or “blablabla shopping mall.”
Don’t forget to ask for your receipt after your shopping spree.
Perhaps you might stick it to the lips of those who will again start issuing statements after the disaster along the lines of “we will draw the necessary lessons.”