Gov’t, municipalities join forces for transformation in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency
A ministerial commission including representatives of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, 39 district municipalities, non-governmental organizations, and professional chambers will speed up urban transformation projects in Istanbul, the urbanization minister said on Feb. 21.
“We have created a commission and a joint will in order to manage the process of Istanbul’s transformation and to move our citizens from risky buildings to safe dwellings. Abiding by the decisions of this commission, we will speed up the transformation process,” said Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum, following a consultation meeting with mayors in Istanbul.
The commission is supposed to encourage residents to evacuate old or damaged buildings via rent allowance, relocation benefit and expropriation schemes, Kurum said.
He also recalled that the government started an urban transformation campaign in 2012.
“So far, we have completed the transformation of 1.35 million residences [across the country]. We have built 1 million social houses with the Housing Development Administration and we have launched many joint projects for transformation. As the ministry, we launched urban transformation projects for 65,000 dwellings, of which 25,000 are in Istanbul,” he added, saying that the projects are concentrated in the districts of Başakşehir, Üsküdar, Fatih, Ataşehir, Bahçelievler, Güngören, Bağcılar, Gaziosmanpaşa, Kağıthane, Bayrampaşa and Beyoğlu.
A seven-storied building in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district collapsed on Feb. 14, causing damage on the adjacent buildings.
The 30-year-old building was evacuated last month due to security risks, so there were no residents in the building at the time of the collapse, the governor’s office said.
The incident alarmed residents of Istanbul about the safety of the building stock of the metropolis, as experts have been warning that a major earthquake with a magnitude of more than 7 in Istanbul is imminent.
About 35 percent of the 22,000 buildings in the district were constructed in accordance with the new strict regulations adopted after the deadly 1999 Marmara earthquake, according to Bahçelievler Municipality.