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The Question After the Istanbul Earthquake: Earthquake Emergency Assembly Areas

Today, the earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 moment in the afternoon off the Silivri district of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea brought the risk of earthquakes to our agenda again. One of the most controversial issues about the possible major İstanbul earthquake that has been discussed for years, is the assembly areas…

Profiteering is the economic development of the last 15 years. Justice and Development Party AKP government that trying to develop with a profiteering system, in an effort to create its own economy class, has turned every asset of material value into a profiteer door. In this way, the parks in the cities, large and non-building areas were turned into concrete and the wheels of the economy were tried to be encircled.

When green areas designated as earthquake assembly areas were considered as “unused money potential” they were sold to capital. Skyscrapers and shopping malls were planted.

470 assembly areas determined after the 1999 earthquake in İstanbul, today there are either skyscrapers or shopping malls.

According to the common opinion of scientists; An earthquake of magnitude 7 is expected. Considering that half of the buildings in İstanbul are without housing, with nearly 2 million building stocks, it is inevitable that hundreds of thousands of buildings will be damaged.

According to Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, There Are 2354 Assembly Areas: Even Including the Mosque Courtyards

According to 2016 data of Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD); There are 2354 assembly areas in İstanbul. However, The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOMB) opposes these data of AFAD. The Branch Chairperson of the Union Nusret Suna, says that most of the assembly areas in the AFAD data can not be considered as ‘assembly areas’ in terms of quality:

TMMOB Is Opposing the Number

“Within the framework of the Disaster Emergency Action Plan between 1999-2003, 496 disaster areas were identified in the city. However, the number of these assembly areas fell to 77. Some of them turned into shopping centers, hotels, residences some of them turned into bridges and roads. Three-fourths of the assembly areas were zoned for construction. It is said there are 2354 assembly areas. Tiny places, playgrounds, mosque courtyards, a place where 10-15 will stand are designated as assembly areas. Impossible. The places on this list are not residential. Large areas where container and tent cities will be built, where basic needs such as showers and heating can be met, can be assembly areas, which is actually 77. Another important issue is the emergency transportation routes… There are about 500 emergency transportation routes in İstanbul, but the majority of them were turned into İstanbul Parking Management (İSPARK) areas. There will be fires after the earthquake, and the transportation roads to the hospital should be open.”

Assembly Areas Were Turned Into Shopping Malls and Luxury Sites

Among those zoned for construction in these areas determined between 1999-2003, there is the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, where Torun Center was elevated, the land of 17th Regional Directorate of Highways in Zincirlikuyu where Zorlu Shopping Mall is located, the Kadıköy Meteorology building and the area where the skyscrapers of Taş Yapı are located, there is also the land of the former Otosan Factory in Acıbadem where Akasya Shopping Mall is located, the area where Marmara and İstanbul Forum Shopping Mall in Bakırköy and 16:9 towers in Zeytinburnu.

Most Known Assembly Areas

The most known assembly areas are Taksim Gezi Park, Beşiktaş Democracy Park, Fındıklı, Poet Nedim, Abbasağa, Balmumcu, Bebek Aşiyan Park, Fatih Gülhane Park, Emirgan Park, Göztepe, Fashion and Freedom Parks, Bahçeşehir Park Pond, Kartal Dragos Beach, Bakırköy Botanic Park, Kağıthane Hasbahçe Recreation Area, Avcılar Denizköşkler Beach Park.

Where Will They Fit?

By looking at these areas and considering that there are about 18 million people living in İstanbul, there is only one question remains: Where will people fit in the event of an earthquake?

In order to find an answer to this question, we took a look at where AFAD was assigned as an emergency assembly area of a person living in Kadıköy center via the e-government system.

For the residents of Kadıköy, AFAD seems to have assigned three assembly areas. Kadıköy center is one of the luckiest areas in the center of İstanbul in terms of large and empty spaces. However, areas such as Rıhtım, Moda Park, Yoğurtçu Park has not been designated as an assembly area. This naturally creates question marks in the minds.

This is the case not only for Kadıköy center but also for many neighborhoods in İstanbul. So there is plenty of reason to brood on this.

Translated by Atakan Hüyük

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