Turkish minister: 1.5 million residences in Istanbul to be "moved" elsewhere

Turkish minister: 1.5 million residences in Istanbul to be "moved" elsewhere
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The minister of environment and urbanization Murat Kurum has disclosed a plan to "move" 1.5 million earthquake-vulnerable residences to other areas, but has not deliberated on the plan.

Turkey's minister of environment urbanization and climate change said on Tuesday that they will "move 1.5 million earthquake-vulnerable residence units in Istanbul to two reserve areas on the Asian and European sides of the city."

After a meeting at the disaster coordination center in the quake hit province of Hatay, minister Murat Kurum noted that Istanbul is faced with earthquake risks and said:

"We assess that there are 1.5 million residence units in Istanbul that require transformation, and that 300,000 of these should be urgently transformed. The ministry is currently involved in ongoing projects concerning 94,000 residence units."

He added:

"There are two reserve areas where we'll transform 1.5 million residences that are vulnerable to earthquake hazards. We will move these 1.5 million vulnerable residences to areas specified by the ministry, to two areas on the Asian and European sides."

While Kurum's remarks indicate an intention for the displacement and resettling of millions of people in a vast metropolitan area with grave commuting problems, he did not mention anything about responding to issues that are likely to result from the movement of residences to yet unknown areas.

Also left in the dark by the minister is whether the displaced and resettled people might face any financial loss due to the "movement of their residences" and if they will be compensated by the government in case, because the values of residences in different areas of the city vary greatly.

While Kurum's announcement, particularly considering it involved a crucial government plan, was short and extremely limited, he also did not state if there were plans to carry out construction projects to build earthquake proof buildings in evacuated areas.