Istanbul land to be turned into green area despite reconstruction permit
Sefer Levent – ISTANBUL
A construction project on a 60-decare land in the Bakırköy district of Istanbul has been cancelled despite a reconstruction permit being granted, and the land will be converted into a recreational area for public use.
The news project is seen as a relief in the city in the face of rapidly spreading high-rise buildings and irregular urbanization.
A reconstruction permit was obtained for the land in 1991, which is in the possession of the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) and houses the historical Baruthane buildings in the Ataköy area of the Bakırköy district.
TOKİ launched a tender in 2010 for construction on the land with the “renovate and operate” model, requiring the proper renovation of the historical structures and protection of the monumental trees.
A construction company, Çelebican Inc., the only participant of the tender, had planned a construction project for the land.
The project would have included seven blocs, each with a height of 70 meters, on the land, which also meets the sea.
However, TOKİ Head Ergün Turan said the company had not started the construction works despite seven years passing since the deal, and had stopped paying the rent.
TOKİ therefore cancelled the tender with a court ruling and now plans to convert the area into a recreational area for public.
“The reconstruction plan for this land was made in 1991 and the permit was issued in the same year. Despite the approvals from the Council of Monuments and Directorate General for Preservation of Natural Heritage, we cancelled the plan on the land, which is still in the possession of TOKİ,” Turan said.
He added that they had also shared their opinion on the land, which also houses historical buildings, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Our president has expressed his full support for our project to open the land to public as a recreational area. We will soon realize the project with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality,” Turan said.
He stressed that they have already signed a protocol with the municipality regarding the project and architects are now working on plans to green the land.
The cultural properties on the land will be renovated in accordance with their original designs, while the rest of the land will be used as a park and recreational area for the public.
Turan also said people will be able to swim in the sea within three kilometers of the coast after the completion of the project.