PM vows to go ahead with urbanization plans
Primi Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday gave awards to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s successful mayors, including Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş (C) and Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek (R). DHA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has demanded support from families for the government’s urban transformation plans that envisage demolishing many weak buildings while reassuring citizens that no one will be left homeless in the process.
“We will destroy houses if necessary. Are we authorized for this? Yes. That’s why I call on my people to facilitate our job. We will not leave any of our citizens on the streets,” he said during a local administrations and family symposium yesterday that was organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“We want to build parks for your children so they can leave the apartments and play on grass, so they can fully live their childhoods. Back in our day, we would come home covered in mud, but the current generation living in big cities cannot experience this. They are confined to a concrete jungle,” said Erdoğan.
Parliament has authorized the government to demolish buildings at risk of collapse during earthquakes and build new homes for those who are evicted from their homes.
“Modern cities rise in a way that pushes aside family values. People don’t reign over cities; the city controls the people and confines them. We want to reverse this for our future generations and leave them peaceful and safe cities filled with green parks,” he said. “We will extend family bliss into the streets.”
At a separate job and career appointment ceremony yesterday, Erdoğan commented on the controversial education reform, saying that while the ruling party had its sights set on 2023, the opposition aimed to bring Turkey back to the 1940s.
One of the many criticized aspects of the education reform is the easy access it will give to religious imam hatip vocational schools. Recalling that he himself attended a religious vocational school and thus faced difficulty entering university, Erdoğan told reporters his administration was fighting to end this injustice.
The bill is under fire for its early introduction of vocational classes, permitting them after just four years of basic education. The reform is widely seen as an AKP move to reopen the secondary stage of the imam hatip religious schools, which were closed in the late 1990s when eight years of uninterrupted education were implemented.
Erdoğan was interrupted during his speech at the ceremony by Proletarian Movement Party (EHP) leader Sibel Uzun, who told the prime minister that his statistics on unemployment were incorrect and asked to submit documents on the matter.
Erdoğan responded that people must learn how to behave courteously when attending such meetings and asked Uzun to “sit back down and learn to listen.” He accused the party leader of “trying to be famous” by “provocation.”
“Zero unemployment rates do not exist anywhere in the world,” said Erdoğan, responding to Uzun’s criticism. He added that instead of speaking up at a crowded meeting, Uzun should have written to the ministry instead. Uzun and Ayşen Ece Kavas, a spokeswoman of the Ankara Youth Action Initiative, were then escorted out of the room by security forces.