This paper discusses the background and issues surrounding Turkish disaster management policy. It also discusses the French experience and provides a comparative analysis and direction for future policy issues concerning both countries. French hazard risk management policies have evolved as a result of European Union (EU) land use, environmental and industrial safety directives. Consistent with Turkey's efforts to join the EU, Turkish policy makers should consider French hazard risk management procedures and incorporate them to the degree that they apply to Turkey's complex hazard management issues. In free societies, the development of long-term strategies for creating sustainable urban environments requires political will and a buy-in from the citizens. Current and future steps that are being taken towards integrating the Turkish society with the EU should include rehabilitation of the emergency management process. The French system, as presented in this paper, is based on principles of risk management that place as much emphasis on the front end (pre-disaster) as on the back end (post-disaster). Turkey should adopt this philosophy. However, the French system cannot be adopted wholesale without a proper analysis that addresses the underlying societal, economic and cultural context of the Turkish system.