Huge anti-quakes upgrades begin amid urban criticism

Huge anti-quakes upgrades begin amid urban criticism

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Huge anti-quakes upgrades begin amid urban criticism


Turkey’s multi-billion dollar urban transformation project begins tomorrow with an initial phase that includes the demolition of 6,000 buildings in 35 provinces. The project, which is slated to be completed in 20 years, has been heavily criticized.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the first demolition in Istanbul’s Esenler district tomorrow along with Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and some other Cabinet members.

Urban transformation projects have already been implemented for more than 200 buildings in Turkey, said Istanbul Urban Planning Board President Tayfun Kahraman.

“We accept that a large amount of housing stock needs to be transformed in Turkey but under Law no. 5366, the method is a mystery. This law only allows for transformation in the city center by the private sector,” Kahraman told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“Inhabitants who live in these areas will be forced to leave their homes,”He said the transformation should have been done by public institutions with public funds to protect citizens’ interests instead of leaving them in the hands of private firms,” he added.

“This is an asymmetrical war between individuals and big companies; the winner will be the firms, without a doubt,” he said.

6.5 million dwellings

Up to 6.5 million dwellings across Turkey could be demolished if they are deemed unsafe in an examination by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry, Bayraktar said yesterday in the southern province of Adana, where he attended the groundbreaking ceremony for 1,398 houses that will be built by state-run property developer TOKİ.

“Some $4oo billion will be needed for nearly 5.3 million houses to be renovated,” Bayraktar said.
The necessary tests will be conducted before dynamite demolition begins, said the urban transformation and substructure services general director, Vedad Gürgen, according to reports.
Gürgen said the necessary measures around the demolishing area will be taken to minimize any possible damage and dust. The ministry’s new regulation permits six methods of demolition: explosives, excavators, hauling cables, remote destruction machines and dynamite.

The firms conducting the demolitions will also be responsible for controlling the dust.

The renovation work is slated to last for 20 years, the ministry said, adding that most of the urban transformation projects will be completed in two years.