Ankara green area faces threat of more construction

Ankara green area faces threat of more construction

Deniz Gürel - ANKARA
Ankara green area faces threat of more construction


A green area containing a historical public building as well as thousands of trees in the capital Ankara has been subjected to a recent amendment which increased the size of its constructible area after being granted to Turkey’s Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry, a move which might turn the green land into a concrete block. 

Thousands of trees are under threat of being cut if there is construction under the amendment, which will allow construction in an area of up to 300,000 square meters rather than the formerly stated 30,000-square-meter constructible area lying near Eskişehir Road, one of the major thoroughfares in the Çukurambar neighborhood of the capital’s Çankaya district.

The amendment was made as to grant the area to the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry after the ministry’s former land in the Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ) was allotted for the construction of the presidential palace, the current official residence of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Environment and Urbanization Ministry then filed an opinion request with the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality (ABB) regarding the controversial amendment on the size of the constructible area, which also includes a public institute which has dealt with plant viruses since it was formerly owned by the Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry.

In response, the ABB Directorate of Urban Planning outlined several reservations for the amendment after the necessary examinations in a written statement.

The Environment and Urbanization Ministry’s proposal to amend the size of the constructible area was unfounded, as it did not include a geological research report, the statement said. 

The proposal had no plan to move the former institute elsewhere, making the fate of the institute unclear, it added.

The statement also said which public body the increase of the constructible land was proposed for was not clearly stated in the amendment draft.

Although the ABB’s urban planning directorate stated grounded reservations, the Environment and Urbanization Ministry filed a request with the ABB Assembly to pass the amendment.

The assembly approved the amendment draft on Aug. 14 by a majority vote, despite opposing votes from assembly members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Grand Unity Party (BBP).

Increasing the constructible area from 30,000 to 300,000 square meters in a forest would eventually lead to the cutting of years-old trees, said İbrahim Uyar, an assembly member from the BBP.