Turkey has 18-fold contractors of the EU total

Turkey has 18-fold contractors of the EU total
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Specialists warn that the simplicity of becoming a contractor in Turkey is the main reason lying behind the massive number of deaths claimed by the earthquakes

Turkey has around 453,000 registered contractors, a number which is equivalent to around 18 times of the total of the European Union countries.

The reason behind this high number is the convenience of the conditions to be fulfilled in order to become a contractor in Turkey.

It is possible to obtain a certificate of proficiency to perform the job after a training program that lasts only 48 hours, Arti Gercek reported on Friday.

“Having some money is enough to be contractor. You register with the tax office and the Chamber of Commerce and then you become a contractor in Turkey. It's that simple. You don't need a university diploma, you don't need any competencies or qualifications," Cemal Gokce, former head of the Chamber of Civil Engineers (IMO) and an executive board member of the Turkish Earthquake Foundation told the news website.

Two massive earthquakes on Feb.6 that claimed at least 38,000 lives in Turkey’s southeast, have also left hundreds of thousands of people without a roof on top in severe winter conditions.

Tens of thousands of buildings had either collapsed or in urgent need of demolition, or severely damaged across ten provinces affected by tremors, according to Turkish Urbanization Ministry data.

These figures have one more time raised strong concerns over the strength of the buildings and whether they are built in accordance with earthquake regulations.

Following the quakes, a total of 26 contractors were arrested so far for their role in collapsed buildings.

While 27 European Union countries have a total of around 25,000 contractors, alone 60,000 contractors are registered with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) in Turkey, Arti Gercek said.

According to Cemal Gokce, everything is left to the initiative of the contractor with the lack of supervision.

“Commercial concerns are ahead of technical concerns. Not everyone should be a contractor. They are doing the job without a license,” he said.

Professional and technical qualification requirements should be imposed for contractors in Turkey, Tahir Tellioglu, the head the Confederation of Construction Contractors also said.

According to Arti Gercek, Veli Gocer was the only contractor who stood trial following the devastating Aug. 17, 1999 tremor in the Sea of Marmara that claimed 17,480 lives.

Gocer, whose 198 people died in the wreckage of the buildings he built, was sentenced to 18 years and 9 months in prison, was released after serving 7,5 years behind bars and has returned to the construction industry in 2018, it said.