In 1999 a quake in the north-west, around the city of Izmit, left some 17 thousand people dead. Stricter building safety standards were brought in, but experts say they have been poorly enforced.
Over the years the government has granted many amnesties to non compliant buildings. According to data from Turkey’s Environment and Urbanisation Ministry, in 2019 more than half of Turkey’s building stock, or 13 million buildings, contravened housing regulations.
Dr Yasemin Aktas is an engineer specialising in the effects of earthquakes on buildings. Originally from Turkey, she’s a lecturer at University College London.
We asked her why the earthquake had hit so badly?