This is the highway that links Istanbul's main airport to the Trans-European Motorway. Hurriyet Media Towers, a 13-storey office building where I work, is located just a few hundreds meter away from the point that this photograph was taken three days ago. Istanbul was chosen for the Top Ten Cities of the world by Time Out last week.
Three days ago, flash floods claimed 31 lives in Istanbul. The rain was devastating (three times more than the average rainfall for whole September was recorded in the city in just 48 hours), but it was not unprecented. It happens at least once almost in every decade. The deaths were almost completely localized. Sleeping drivers in a trailer park, women textile workers who couldn't swim but were brave enough to head into the flood with a shuttle without a windshield!.. But why localized? The answer is simple: The flood happened because of certain creeks which overflow their banks even when it drizzles. So the disaster area was made up of the districts around these rehabilitated creeks. The numbers, other than the ones for the casualties, tell about it all: The flood effected 1534 homes and 846 business premises. 33 buildings are completely destroyed and 53 of them are now inhabitable. So the people who are responsible because of this disaster and who should resign is obvious: The city officials, especially the mayor, who couldn't avoided a disaster that could indeed be avoided. And what does the mayor do? Here is the answer: Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul and the "elder brother" of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, firstly accused the people who died. Then, while showing a diagram that resembles a kindergarten drawing (below), he put the blame on previous city administrations. And finally, he accused the military for hosting a overflown pond, even though this little reservoir was 2 km away from the flood! So here we have another example of AKP hypocrisy. I've never seen the Islamists admitting their mistakes... The tragicomic reality lies in the history of Istanbul. AKP and its Islamist predecessors have been ruling Istanbul for the last 15 years. Moreover, the mayor who opened today's flooded basins to residential and industrial buildings was no one but Tayyip Erdogan himself. They are not only shamelessly lying profit-seekers, but also ignorant amateurs who try to manage one of the most beautiful cities of the world without knowing anything about its history. Otherwise they should have done what the legendary Ottoman architect Sinan had done. I gave an example of Sinan's genius in the past. To conclude, I added another one to the list, concerning Istanbul floods: 450 years ago, Sinan built a bridge over the lake in Buyukcekmece district. As can be seen from the satellite photos, he chose to use a few islets as natural piers. In this way, the cost of the bridge rose up, but there was a good reason for that. Thanks to this trick, the bridge lets all the extra water to reach the sea through the channel and never experiences a flooding. And what about 10 years old bridge right next to it? The architects should be much more clever than Sinan, because they took the shorter path to bridge the gap between shores. Moreover, they didn't even put modern floodgates on the new bridge. So, three days ago, the new bridge was flooded completely and collapsed partially. But who will take a lesson?