Questions to assess in Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan after earthquakes regarding the fullfilment of the human rights related to habitat

Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in nearly 100 years struck near the city of Gaziantep in the early hours of 6 February.  The effects killed thousands of people across southern Turkey, northern Syria and Kurdistan. The 7.8 magnitude quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5 magnitude tremor that shook the region amid search and rescue efforts later in the day.

In this context, the Turkish Bar Association (TBB) has filed a complaint against the contractors and government officials it holds responsible for the buildings flattened in the major earthquakes and thus for the resulting high death toll.

According to the TBB, the indictment includes the responsibility of the contractors of the buildings destroyed by the earthquakes; the experts who prepared the architectural, static and other plans, projects and drawings of those buildings; the officials who issued the zoning and occupancy permits; municipal officials who failed to conduct effective inspections and ministry officials who failed to ensure that inspections were properly carried out; and officials responsible for the high number of fatalities from the earthquakes, mainly due to “late, incomplete or faulty” implementation of search and rescue efforts.

The remaining of an old building torn down to the ground

[More info : Turkey’s top bar association files complaint against contractors, gov’t officials for ‘murder’ after earthquake ]

The fact that even some of the newest flat blocks have collapsed has called into question whether building safety standards in Turkey are correct. The BBC examined three new buildings, now in rubble, to find out what they reveal about building safety.

Modern construction techniques are supposed to make buildings resistant to earthquakes of this magnitude. And regulations adopted after previous disasters in the country were supposed to ensure that these protections were in place. However, with so many buildings having collapsed across the affected region, many Turks are questioning the nature of the building standards.

[More info here Turkey earthquake: Why did so many buildings collapse?]

HIC express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquake in Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan.

We deplore the consequences that deepen a pre-existing crisis in the region, which has been affected by the war in Syria for more than ten years and we support all the initiative that aim to search the causes of the effects of this tragedy as well as to stand for the human rights of all the inhanitants during this state of emergency and in the future.