Court ruling greenlights reconstruction in central Istanbul

Court ruling greenlights reconstruction in central Istanbul

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Court ruling greenlights reconstruction in central Istanbul

DHA photo

Turkey’s Council of State has annulled a former ruling of an Istanbul administrative court which barred reconstruction projects in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, providing the legal ground for projects such as a plan to construct a mosque, shopping mall and multi-story building in the historical neighborhood. 

The Istanbul 10th Administrative Court on Sep. 25, 2013, issued a ruling barring two construction project plans – the “Beyoğlu Reconstruction Plan for Protection of Urban Areas” and the “Patterned Reconstruction Plan for Beyoğlu” – developed in 2011 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB), in a case filed by the Cihangir Embellishment Association and the Galata Association, two environmental rights groups in Beyoğlu.

The case, at the time, was filed against the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the İBB and the Beyoğlu Municipality.

The move bears a strong similarity in reasoning with a previous decision by the Council of State which paved the way for the construction of a multi-purpose complex shaped as a replica of an Ottoman artillery barracks in Gezi Park, a controversial project which spurred nationwide protests two years ago.

Less than a month ago, the Council of State reversed its former decision to cancel the controversial pedestrianization project around the iconic Taksim Square in central Istanbul, providing the legal means for the construction of the multi-purpose complex in Gezi Park.

The Istanbul 1st Administrative Court on June 6, 2013, canceled both the Taksim pedestrianization project and the Artillery Barracks project amid the Gezi Park demonstrations, a series of countywide protests and demonstrations that left eight protesters dead and more than a thousand others injured.

Almost a year later, in April 2014, the Council of State re-evaluated and approved its cancellation decision in response to an appeal by the İBB.

Nonetheless, the municipality made a rare request for a revision of the decision – an unusual motion that only succeeds in the event the decision was made in error.

The Council of State in response to the revision request by the İBB demanded the formation of a new panel of experts for a second examination, rejecting the request.