Residents stay in Istanbul’s high-risk buildings due to the low rental prices

World Faizah Kamal 01-Feb-2020
Buildings in Istanbuls Fikirtepe neighbourhood
ID 55554628 © Güner Kaya | Dreamstime.com

Hundreds of buildings at high risk that have been evacuated because of a planned urban transformation project in Istanbul’s Fikirtepe neighborhood are being rented by foreigners and Turkish citizens due to low prices.

Turkey, which straddles seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes, has many high-risk buildings which are planned to undergo urban transformation projects.

Istanbul’s poverty-stricken Fikirtepe buildings – that do not have any earthquake resistance and have a high risk of collapsing – are being used by foreigners who came to Turkey for work purposes as well as by impoverished residents of the city.

The reason for their imperative residence at risky buildings stem from the residences’ low rental prices.

“Would we stay here if we had somewhere else to go. Our fears have mounted with the [recent] news of quakes. We are keeping watch on our children at night, afraid that the home will collapse,” Salih Akın, a citizen living in a derelict house in Fikirtepe, told the news agency Hürriyet Daily News.

“The homeowner left, and we had to settle when we found out that it was empty,” he said.

Another resident, Ahmet Ulucak, said that he has been living with the fear of death “every single day.”

Ulucak said that he rented out an apartment in his building yet “has on his conscience” when collecting the rent.

“But my tenant is desperate as well. Where else will he find a home for [500 Turkish Liras (about $84)]? He would not have stayed in this risky building if he had another choice,” Ulucak said.