West Lafayette, Ind.—

The Turkish civil engineer who has been working for many years to save Istanbul from an expected killer quake says the current devastation in Ercis is largely a product of the inability to enforce existing codes to ensure safe structures.

“Turkey has the most modern and up-to-date earthquake construction code in the world,” said Mete Sozen, Purdue University’s Kettelhut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering. “Unfortunately, codes are not uniformly enforced.”

Sozen has traveled his native land extensively to study the infrastructure’s ability to withstand earthquakes and to help write new construction codes. He has visited the Van region and is receiving regular updates from one of his former Purdue postdoctoral students who is at the disaster site.

“Preliminary reports indicate that some of the felled buildings were built in the last five years and should have been subject to the stringent codes,” Sozen said.

Sozen recently proposed an entire earthquake-proof satellite city to serve as a “life boat” should Istanbul be hit by a devastating quake in the next couple decades as experts predict. That kind of quake is expected to claim tens of thousands of lives. Video of that proposed satellite city is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9StBLEToviY to be viewed or reused.

Sozen also is the engineer who worked with Purdue computer scientists to produce 3-D depictions documenting the exact sequence of internal structural failures leading to the collapse of the World Trade Center and the damage to the Pentagon building.

By Jim Schenke Purdue University News Service