Istanbul, which lies just north of the North Anatolian fault, is at high risk for a major earthquake within the next 30 years."All of the seismic and historical evidence says a major earthquake is overdue," says Sozen, who led an international effort in 2005 to evaluate the risk of such a catastrophe.That group concluded that it is likely an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 to 7.5 on the Richter scale would occur within the next three decades.Turkey has been hit by earthquakes before. In the modern period of dense urbanization, they have resulted in terrible human loss very often due to the inadequate engineering of buildings and infrastructure. It is doubtful that Turkey will undertake the construction of a satellite city, as suggested by the Purdue engineers, in order to "run away from the earthquake" or any other such substantial preparatory measure in the future. From a financial standpoint, Turkey is neither California nor Japan. It cannot afford the premium necessary to build or reinforce in preparation for even an inevitable natural catastrophe except in the case of a few strategic and monumental structures such as the Bosphorus bridges in Istanbul.
Turkish governmental institutions do not offer the best resume of management skills when it comes to such issues of planning. If the municipal governments in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir are barely capable of dealing with inadequate water supplies in their city's reservoir systems, how can they be expected to either afford or organize for a problem of much greater complexity and severity? One cannot prepare for an earthquake simply by making frequent, unannounced water cuts. Assuming that the state is unable of play its role, this observer hopes that it will attempt to increasingly inform and encourage the citizens of Istanbul to prepare to the best of their own abilities.