Turkish gov’t dismisses claims of plans to sell expropriated areas in southeast
Emine Kart - ANKARA
REUTERS photoThe Turkish government has refuted claims that an expropriated area in the country’s southeast would be sold to private companies and that these companies had been preselected.
The explanation by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government came over the weekend in response to a parliamentary question filed by a leading deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
In his motion, CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu queried the repercussions of a cabinet decision made in March for the “urgent expropriation” of 60 percent of the Sur district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, which is home to a UNESCO-protected world heritage site.
“The main purposes of this expropriation are the protection of the historic fabric, the creation of livable and secure spaces by avoiding the buildings which are at risk and unqualified and to find a solution to the city’s social problems with spatial decisions. These decisions are aimed at transferring the necessary cultural values to the next generations without losing the value with the applications, completely contrary to the original texture,” said the Aug. 7 response by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry’s Strategy Development Directorate.
“The applications will not be contrary to the commitments given to protect the original structures of the area, besides the elimination of the disaster risk, as well as make a significant contribution to the protection of cultural values, so that it is out of the question that the historic fabric will be destroyed. The main aim in the damaged regions is their in-situ transformation and our citizens residing in the same area [after] will be provided. However, the whole process will be conducted with reconciliation and the planning decisions will be urgently actualized… the creation and building process of new residential areas and social facilities will be carried out,” said the ministry.
“Along with the planned endeavors, our cities will be planned afresh and it will be ensured that they will be upgraded,” the ministry added.
“The allegations that the expropriated areas will be sold to private companies and that these companies were preselected is out of the question,” it also said.
Tanrıkulu had addressed his questions to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and listed a series of queries, including whether there was any legal basis on the decision and what this legal basis was; the kind of activities that would be carried out in the expropriated areas; the risks after the curfew was lifted; and the number of police stations planned to be established in the expropriated areas in Sur.
“Will the cabinet respond to the allegations that this decision will destroy the historical fabric of this area? Operations and curfews largely destroyed the [southeastern] Cizre, Yüksekova and Silopi regions. Are there any similar decisions for them?” Tanrıkulu asked. “Considering the ‘we are going to build a new southeast’ expression, what is the plan to build a new southeast? What kind of a southeast is expected to be built? Is the allegation that expropriated areas will be sold to private companies true? Is the planned, pre-determined sale of expropriated areas to private companies true? If the claim is true, what are these private companies?” he further asked.