Turkey’s Seismic Zones: How to Choose a Safe Property

It is no secret that Turkey, like many other countries, is located in a geological fault zone and earthquakes sometimes occur here. So some investors have legitimate questions about the seismic safety of the Republic of Turkey. In today’s article we will look at where earthquakes occur most often in Turkey, which areas are considered the safest, and what to look out for when choosing a property.

Seismic zones in Turkey

A total of three geological fault zones within the country, known to cause large earthquakes from time to time: the North Anatolian, East Anatolian, and West Anatolian fault zones. The closer the region is to the fault, the greater the likelihood of earthquakes.

An online map has been compiled by AFAD Turkey’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, which provides a detailed look at Turkey’s seismic areas and the degree of risk. Five zones of seismic activity are distinguished: from the first maximum to the fifth minimum.

Turkey’s seismic risk zones are marked in red on the map. Areas with a low probability of ground shaking are shown in white.

A few important points should be noted:

  • The metropolitan area of Istanbul and the Aegean coast, Izmir, and Mugla are considered “sensitive” in this respect among popular resort and tourist regions.
  • Areas at low risk of strong ground shocks are the Mediterranean and some of the Black Sea resorts (in particular, Trabzon). The maximum recorded earthquake magnitude here does not exceed 2.5-4.3 on the Richter scale.
  • The parts of the country located on the Anatolian lithospheric plate, such as Ankara, Konya, Eskisehir, Sivas and others, are considered to be seismically safe.

Where in Turkey are earthquake-free?

Alanya, Antalya, Mersin are the most favorable and safe Turkish cities for rest and residence. These regions are located in the fourth zone of seismic activity, which means that the probability of destructive earthquakes is very low here. Most of the tremors will not be felt and will not affect the course of daily life.

Despite the favourable situation, all developers are required by the government to build only earthquake-resistant buildings that can withstand even strong earthquakes. Companies are subject to a set of regulations and requirements. All work is monitored by authorised government agencies.

How to choose a safe property?

If you decide to buy a Turkish property, there are two main factors to consider:

  • A DASK earthquake insurance policy is compulsory. Only with this document, you will not have to worry about compensation if an insured event occurs. It is currently one of the most effective insurance systems in the world.

Insurance coverage includes damage caused by earthquakes and related consequences (tsunamis, floods and other natural disasters). Some types of destruction are not covered by the policy and you should find out about them in advance. The state pays the full value of the property as shown on the title deed.

In addition, you can also take care of maximum insurance coverage for your property by taking out private insurance in Turkey.

  • A professional approach to choosing a property.

In addition to liquidity features such as location, infrastructure, proximity to the beach, and layout, the earthquake resistance of the building should also be taken into account. In order to find out the earthquake resistance of a building, you should ask for the relevant documents from the construction or management company.

When selecting a property pay attention to:

  • The strength of the concrete. Strength specifications cannot be lower than C10. Do not trust words but check with an independent consultant to verify.
  • Cracks in beams and columns. In addition to cracks, experts recommend paying attention to the presence of moisture and rust on the lower levels of the building and whether there are any foreign impurities in the concrete, such as sea shells. This may well indicate poor quality concrete.
  • Availability of earthquake and risk assessment reports. These documents are issued upon request by the municipality, as well as by the Environment and Urban Development Authority and the county governor.
  • Documentation of the building’s earthquake resistance by the construction or management company. They show the building’s resistance to possible earthquakes and the estimated extent of damage.

In addition, buyers can have the building independently tested by specialised private companies.

Make sure that the intended use of the land is appropriate for the construction work. The specific plot must be suitable for the erection of a particular house with respect to seismic safety. This is particularly important when purchasing an apartment in a multi-storey residential complex.

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