With every blow of the bulldozers, residents of a five-story building adjacent to another being demolished felt something was wrong. Soon, their walls on the side of the building in Istanbul’s Avcılar district also come crashing down. What at first was thought to be a faulty demolition attempt, disclosed a fraud dating back four decades, when the two buildings were constructed.
Residents noticed that a wall separating theirs from the demolished building was actually the wall of the other building and the developer, who built both, saved on costs by building only one wall for the two buildings.
Avcılar, on Istanbul’s European side, was one of the most affected districts in a major earthquake in 1999 and to this day, decrepit buildings dot the district where construction of new buildings is scarce due to future earthquake risk.
Nowadays, there is an "urban transformation" drive in the district to demolish old, unsafe buildings, to replace them with sturdy ones. This particular demolition was part of these efforts. When residents notified officials upon seeing the wall was collapsing, the demolition crew told them the wall actually belonged to the demolished building. Residents of the building housing 10 flats and three stores were evacuated.
"We just noticed that our building was completely merged with the neighboring building. Apparently, the developer tried to make it more spacious for residents of the other building. I knew something was wrong because you could hear very loud noise even when people in the demolished buildings hammered a small nail on the wall," Alper Karasoy, one of the residents of the building whose one wall is now missing, told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Tuesday.
A similar incident was reported in Bahçelievler, another Istanbul district near Avcılar, in 2016, during another urban transformation project. An apartment building was left without a wall when an adjacent building, whose one wall was shared with its neighbor, was demolished.