A destructive earthquake, magnitude of M-w = 7.2 (Richter scale), hit the city of Van, located in eastern Turkey, on 23 October 2011 and another major earthquake with a magnitude of M-w = 5.6 occurred on 9 November 2011. Significant damage was observed in all types of civil engineering structures in the city centre and nearby. This paper presents the field observations on the seismic performance of precast concrete structures during the earthquakes. Possible damaging factors were discussed in detail after a comprehensive site survey. The majority of the investigated structures were industrial precast concrete structures located in the organised industrial zone of Van. In addition to industrial precast concrete structures, a precast multi-storey residential building located in the city centre was also examined. The findings from the site investigations were compared with the seismic behaviour of similar precast concrete structures during the former devastating earthquake in north-western Turkey in 1999. The effects of improper design and detailing of precast connections during the construction of the precast concrete structures in the high-seismicity regions are reported.