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POLITICS >NGO members march against government bill to sideline chambers in urban planning

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The TMMOB placed a black wreath in front of the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry in Ankara on July 10. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The TMMOB placed a black wreath in front of the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry in Ankara on July 10. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Members of the Chamber of Architects and Engineers’ (TMMOB) organized a march in Ankara on July 10 to protest the adoption of a midnight bill removing its involvement in city planning processes.

The TMMOB, whose members participated in or supported the Gezi protests in huge numbers, placed a black wreath in front of the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry. 

Lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), including Gürsel Tekin, Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Musa Çam also attended the march.

The police, who took tight security measures in front of the ministry building, tried at first to prevent the group from leaving the wreath. They were finally to put the wreath in front of the building’s door, but police removed it shortly after.

Demonstrators held banners reading #direnTMMOB (#resistTMMOB), in reference to the hashtag that became identified with the Gezi protests.

According to daily Hürriyet, a chief police officer warned the police forces present not to use tear gas against the demonstrators.

As a result of the midnight bill at Parliament, adopted with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) votes, the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry is responsible for all the decisions related to the approval of urban projects, which were supervised by related chambers such as the TMMOB. 

CHP’s deputy group leader Akif Hamzaçebi described the proposal as “part of the government’s witch hunt over Gezi Park." "The summary of this proposal is this: the government is making the TMMOB pay, and those who are involved with Taksim Solidarity pay. There is no other cause, no technicality on which it is based. It aims to remove the visa application for projects, which allows for occupational supervision and provides the chambers with financial resources," Hamzaçebi said. 

One of the non-governmental organizations with the largest number of members in Turkey, the TMMOB distinguishes itself by adopting a left-wing stance. Eight members of TMMOB were among the 50 people detained after the police’s most recent crackdown two days ago, including Mücella Yapıcı, who also acts as the spokesperson of the Taksim Solidarity Platform.

However, the TMMOB has long been a vocal opponent of the AKP government, along with some workers’ and civil servants’ unions and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).

July/10/2013

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