Videos of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, taken during a campaign stop of Turkey’s March 2019 local elections, have resurfaced showing him boasting about the amnesty programme in the earthquake epicentre that allowed contractors to ignore the safety codes and forgave faults in millions of buildings across Turkey.
While campaigning ahead of local elections in 2019, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told rallies in the southern provinces that legislation passed by his party had allowed buildings with construction violations to be certified without developers bringing them up to code.
Erdogan’s government approved 7.4mn applications within a year and a half, providing legal status to buildings that had breached a broad set of basic licensing, design and safety rules. The scheme raised TL 24bn, at the time about $4.2bn, in building registration fees, according to the environment ministry.
The Turkish government has been criticized for failing to enforce building regulations, fuelling corruption, and misspending special taxes levied after the last big quake in 1999 in order to make buildings more resistant.