Locals march to protest constructions on Istanbul coastal area
A large group marched on Sept. 20 to protest constructions in Istanbul’s Ataköy neighborhood, which are ongoing despite a court ruling that cancelled the sale of the land on the grounds that it was against the Coastal Law.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Bakırköy’s Cumhuriyet Square before marching to the construction site, which is located on Istanbul’s last natural beach.
The 412,000-square meter area was handed over to Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) on Dec. 14, 2001, with a protocol signed between Emlakbank and TOKİ. The area was then declared to be a touristic area and was divided into parts. Constructions started after the area was sold and rented in a tender in 2009.
The protesting group shouted slogans against TOKİ and carried banners declaring “We will get Ataköy back,” “We don’t want TOKİ on the coast,” and “No to concrete, yes to a livable world.”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers Ercan Karakaş and Süleyman Çelebi, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Levent Tüzel, and Bakırköy Mayor Bülent Kerimoğlu also took part in the protest.
The protesters broke a steel door with a TOKİ tag and entered the coastal area next to the construction site before issuing a press statement.
“Capital companies and politicians have been working to acquire this valuable piece of coast for years.
The construction of luxury hotels are ongoing despite the appeals of Bakırköy locals and the municipality,” HDP lawmaker Tüzel said, adding that TOKİ was overseeing luxury private investments on lands that should be open to the public.