An earthquake struck the city of Bingol, Turkey on May 1, 2003. A total of 1351 buildings were heavily damaged or collapsed in the city center and surrounding villages. Recorded ground acceleration was relatively high compared with that of other recent Turkish earthquakes. Its peak value was approximately 5.45 m/s(2). Duration of the strong ground motion with large amplitudes was relatively short at approximately 10 s. Ground accelerations and response spectrums for this earthquake are illustrated in this paper. Seismic code requirements are discussed and compared with observed earthquake damage. Many structural deficiencies and mistakes such as nonductile details, soft and weak stories, poor concrete quality, short columns, strong beams-weak columns, large and heavy overhangs and unconfined gable walls were observed. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.