The March 8, 2010 earthquakes that hit Kovancilar and Palu districts of Elazig province in Turkey and their impacts on masonry and concrete buildings are studied in this paper. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), magnitudes of these earthquakes, which caused partial or total collapse in many buildings with life losses, were 6.1 and 5.5, respectively. This paper outlines the seismological aspects of the region, the characteristics of the strong ground motion, the geotechnical characteristics of the region and the structural damages based on site assessments. The structural damage level is observed to be directly proportional with the amount of the insufficient quality in the workmanship and usage of inadequate building materials. If a minimum amount of engineering attention had been paid during the construction stages, most of the existing buildings could have sustained the earthquakes without considerable damage. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.