‘Green haven’ in Black Sea opening to mass housing
Aysel Alp – ANKARAThe Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) will construct Ottoman-style buildings in the highlands of the Black Sea provinces.
Illegal buildings in the areas will be demolished and TOKİ will construct arcaded buildings with lifts in their place, including in the famous Ayder Plateau, which is a protected area. The construction process is due to start in spring 2017.
TOKİ will work with three ministries in order to transform the highland areas. As part of the transformation project in Rize’s Ayder Plateau, two-storied houses will be built as well as lifts.
Noting that Urban and Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki and Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu met with TOKİ head Ergün Turan 15 days ago to discuss the growing sprawl in the plateaus, Nature Conservation Deputy General Manager Kemalettin Cengiz Tekinsoy said a protocol had been prepared and that the Culture and Tourism Ministry would also be involved.
Tekinsoy also described how urban transformation in the area would proceed.
“We’ll start with Ayder. From here, we’ll continue with the plateaus that are tourism zones. Our aim is to build resting and social areas that would meet the demands of visitors in line with the unique architecture of the area that is being developed as a tourism zone,” Tekinsoy said, adding that TOKİ would prepare the projects in order to “reflect our traditional architecture.”
“Ugly buildings will be demolished and an urban transformation will be made via a deal with the rights owners. The planning efforts will be over in three to five months and the construction process is expected to start in spring,” he said.
Noting that multi-story buildings would not be constructed in the plateaus, Tekinsoy said “plateau house-style resting places will be built.”
“The houses will be with a terrace, and its surroundings won’t be detached from nature. The house will be integrated with nature. The interiors will be reinforced concrete, the exteriors will be stone and wood and the roofs will be pantile, as in the traditional architecture,” he said.
“The plan will be presented to our ministers and prime minister,” he added.
Additionally to houses, TOKİ will also build cafes and restaurants in the areas.
“However, our aim, of course, is to build them without harming nature. There will be figures that reflect our natural values,” he said.
Turkey’s Council of State previously annulled a comprehensive environment regulation plan, including a 2,600-kilometer-long road construction, stating that the plan would pave the way for the commercialization of naturally protected areas in the Black Sea region.
Basing its arguments on an expert report, the Council of State said in its ruling that the Environment Regulation Plan, which covers six Black Sea provinces as well as the long-disputed Green Road project, would do nothing to protect natural areas such as forests, basins, agricultural and upland areas in the region.
The draft also noted that the planning works of the tourism regions on the proposed route would be completed quickly and that they would be prepared to facilitate private sector investments.
The project has been widely criticized for its negative impact not only on the environmental character of the areas affected but also on the culture and lifestyle of local residents, destroying the unique nature of the upland villages.