Istanbul Airport Preparedness in the Wake of Devastating Earthquake

After the devastating earthquake that shook Turkey on February 6, 2023, killing over 44,200 people, tens of thousands wounded and more than 164,000 buildings destroyed, the focus turned to Istanbul and the preparedness of its record-breaking airport, IGA.[0] IGA announced that they have designed and constructed their buildings to be prepared for a possible Istanbul earthquake and that their geological structure has been changed to withstand the earthquake.[1]

In the statement made by IGA, they explained that they had taken all measures necessary to ensure that the buildings and operations on the air side would not be interrupted in the event of a possible Istanbul earthquake. The economic losses to Turkey are estimated to be more than $84 billion, over 10% of gross domestic product.[2]

The earthquake has also forced President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to change the focus of his election campaign as the elections may turn out to be the most symbolic, dramatic and important in Turkey’s modern history, as they will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, decide the course the country will take in the coming decades, and determine if Erdogan’s 22-year domination of Turkey’s political life will come to an end or not.[0]

Erdogan is being held responsible for the slow and ineffective initial response of the state rescue services and the Armed Forces to the earthquake, as well as the fact that the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) were unprepared and disorganized to face the disaster. He is using the media he controls to make people forget the tragedy and is likely to use a State of Emergency (SOE) to give himself an advantage at the ballot box.[3]

In order to prepare for a possible Istanbul earthquake, IGA has the Istanbul Airport Seismic Hazard Report prepared in May 2015, with the help of national and international teams led by Boğaziçi University Earthquake Engineering Department Honorary Professor Mustafa Erdik, Earthquake Strengthening Association (DEGÜDER) Chairman Sinan Türkkan, and Ozyegin University Civil Engineering Founding Department Head Atilla Ansal.[1]

The people of Turkey are understandably angry with Erdogan and his party, who have ruled since 2002, and question the lack of earthquake mitigation strategies such as the enforcement of strict building codes, zoning, and the use of allocated monies set aside for earthquake prevention.[4]

0. “World News | In Wake of Earthquakes, Erdogan Forced to Change Focus of Election Campaign” LatestLY, 27 Feb. 2023,

1. “Is Istanbul Airport Ready For A Possible Istanbul Earthquake…” MENAFN.COM, 2 Mar. 2023,

2. “Earthquake Unveils Turkey's Many Ugly Faces” Gatestone Institute, 24 Feb. 2023,

3. “The Massive Death Toll From Turkey's Earthquake Is No Natural Disaster” Jacobin magazine, 25 Feb. 2023,

4. “Erdogan faces growing backlash over earthquake mismanagement” Washington Examiner, 28 Feb. 2023,

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