The October 23, 2011 M7.2 Tabanli - Van and November 9, 2011 M5.2 Edremit-Van earthquakes caused damage in a widespread area across the Van province in Turkey. The ground motions, the damage caused by these earthquakes and the recent progress related to recovery efforts are presented herein. First, the key properties of the recorded strong ground motions like spectral amplitudes and directionality are evaluated. The observed damage in the affected reinforced concrete and masonry structures are discussed. The set of common structural damage mechanisms (i.e., soft story failure, torsional response due to plan irregularity, short column failure, pull out failure, pounding) observed in the damaged buildings were identified. The relationship between the key structural properties and the extent of damage is investigated. The primary loss drivers across the region were identified to be the poor quality of workmanship and improper use of building materials. The results from the investigation suggest that a large portion of the loss could have been prevented if sufficient attention and care were given to the implementation of the design regulations and in particular to the construction practice. Lastly, the recent progress in the ongoing rebuilding activities is presented.