Since the turn of the twenty-first century, Turkish cities have undergone large-scale change through a process referred to as urban transformation, involving, notably, the demolition of inner-city low-income settlements. The official authorities and business circles have resorted to various forms of discourse to justify these projects, which have led to the deportation of a significant number of people to peripheral areas. The discourse of ‘natural disasters’, for example, suggests that urban transformation is necessary to protect people from some pending event. Probably the most effective application of this discourse has occurred in Izmir, where the risk posed by ‘landslides’ has played a critical role in the settlement demolitions conducted in the huge inner-city neighbourhood of Kadifekale. By examining the case of Kadifekale, this paper provide some insights into how ‘natural disasters’ serve as a discourse with which to legitimise the neoliberal logic entrenched in the urban transformation process in Turkey.