Videos show Turkey’s Erdogan boasted letting builders avoid earthquake codes

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As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struggles to defend his response to last Monday’s devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, videos from a few years back have emerged showing him hailing some of the housing projects that crumbled, killing thousands of people.

In one video, taken during a campaign stop ahead of Turkey’s March 2019 local elections, Erdogan listed some of his government’s top achievements — including new housing for the city of Kahramanmaras, also known as Maras, near the epicenter of last week’s quake.

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“We solved the problem of 144,156 citizens of Maras with zoning amnesty,” Erdogan said, using his term for the construction amnesties handed out to allow contractors to ignore the safety codes that had been put on the books specifically to make apartment blocks, houses and office buildings more resistant to earthquakes.

Engineers and architects say the lack of safety features designed to absorb the shock of earthquakes likely contributed to the soaring death toll.


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