Turkey’s environment minister says clause legalizing controversial buildings removed from bill
Ömer Erbil ISTANBULTurkish Environment Minister İdris Güllüce has said the clause that would legalize already-constructed buildings, including a group of skyscrapers that have ruined the iconic panorama of Istanbul’s historic center and the controversial presidential palace in Ankara, by awarding them “vested rights” status, has been removed from a new omnibus bill.
An addition to the current construction law, the amendment added to the omnibus bill was aimed at legalizing the constructed buildings by providing them with “vested rights” status. However, Güllüce announced on Jan. 13 that the clause was removed from the bill, which is expected to be sent to parliament at the end of January.
If the amendment to the construction law had been passed, court decisions against three skyscrapers located in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district that ruin the panoramic silhouette of the city’s historic peninsula, the newly-constructed presidential palace on a section of Atatürk Forest Farm in the Beştepe neighborhood of Ankara, and the luxury seafront house complex in Istanbul’s Ataköy neighborhood, would have fallen.
The Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office had demanded the prosecution of the Zeytinburnu mayor and the heads of the municipality’s directorate of technical works and public housing for failing to follow a court ruling that ordered the destruction of the top floors of the three skyscrapers.
A lawsuit against the construction of the controversial presidential place inside the Atatürk Forest Farm on the grounds that the area was a protected natural site was opened by the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB). The Ankara 11th Administrative Court had canceled the decision to change the area’s natural site status, but the Council of State later cancelled the objection to this decision.