Disasters: Why heavy earthquakes keep happening in Turkey

Why heavy earthquakes keep happening in Turkey

A powerful tremor has brought down several buildings in southeastern Turkey and Syria, and many casualties are feared. photo

© Elifaysenurbay/IHA/AP/dpa

The tectonic plate shifts repeatedly cause violent earthquakes in the region. The last one with a magnitude of 7.0 wasn’t that long ago.

Turkey is repeatedly affected by severe earthquakes. The country lies on the small Anatolian Plate, which is being shifted westward between the north-drifting Arabian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. The resulting tensions are regularly discharged in earthquakes. A selection of the heaviest in the region:

October 2020: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake kills more than 100 people in the western Turkish city of Izmir. Two teenagers have died on the neighboring Greek island of Samos. More than 1000 people are injured and many houses are destroyed.

January 2020: A 6.7 magnitude earthquake shook the eastern Turkish province of Elazig. 41 people die, hundreds of houses are destroyed.

October/November 2011: A severe earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 shook the province of Van in the south-east of the country. At least 600 people die. Almost 2300 houses are destroyed. Around two weeks later, an earthquake in the same region killed around 40 people.

August 1999: More than 17,000 people die in one of the worst natural disasters in Turkey’s history. At least 24,000 are injured. The epicenter of the earthquake is in the western Turkish city of Izmit, around 100 kilometers east of Istanbul.


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