Head of Istanbul nursing home changed as land opens to zoning

Head of Istanbul nursing home changed as land opens to zoning

Ömer Erbil – ISTANBUL
Head of Istanbul nursing home changed as land opens to zoning A businessman in the construction industry, whose faulty building claimed 20 lives in the deadly earthquake in Turkey’s western province of Yalova in 1999, has been appointed as the head of a nursing home in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood, in a historical building that was recently opened to renovation.

The Darülaceze, a place where the state has taken care of elderly people and orphaned children free of charge for over 100 years since the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II, has appointed Hamza Cebeci to head the institution, which is run under the Family and Social Policies Ministry. 

Cebeci had been sentenced to 10 months in jail after the Yalova apartment named “Işık” (Light) that he had built was responsible for the death of 20 residents. The legally permitted level of the seven-storey building was only three storeys, and it collapsed during the huge earthquake of Nov. 12, 1999.

Cebeci had defended himself in court by saying that he was a contractor working on an apartment-for-land basis, and if he had constructed the building at only three floors then he would not have earned any money. 

Aylin Çiftçi, who has been the head of the Darülaceze nursing home for the past two years and is herself a physician, was removed from duty reportedly after objecting to the opening of the 27,000-square-meter premises to construction. 

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality had changed the construction plan for land owned by Darülaceze, which is currently being used as a parking lot. The area, which previously only had health purposes, was also assigned a touristic function and construction up to 15 floors was also granted at the municipal council in June. 

However, the 2nd Council on the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage objected to this zoning change on the grounds that it would affect the Darülaceze building and was against a cultural heritage preservation law.

Çiftçi was removed as the head of Darülaceze shortly after this ruling was issued.