Officials face prosecution for failing to trim top floors of Istanbul’s silhouette-spoiling skyscrapers
ISTANBULAn Istanbul public prosecutor’s office has demanded permission from a district governor’s office for an investigation into officials from the Zeytinburnu Municipality, as a part of the legal process over three skyscrapers spoiling the city’s historic silhouette on the European side.
The Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded to launch a prosecution into the Zeytinburnu mayor and the heads of the municipality’s directorate of technical works and public housing for failing to follow a court ruling that ordered the destruction of the top floors of the towers.
The construction of the 37, 32 and 27-storey buildings in the Zeytinburnu district had sparked a lively debate after they were built, as they were clearly visible in the panorama behind the Süleymaniye Mosque on the city’s historic peninsula.
The Council of State approved the destruction ruling by Istanbul’s 4th Administrative Court after the cancellation of the project’s construction plans and license. In its decision, the court explained that the skyscrapers were illegal, as they “negatively affected the world heritage site that the Turkish government was obliged to protect.”
According to the regulations, the maximum construction elevation cannot be higher than 70 meters in Zeytinburnu in order to protect the city’s silhouette, requiring the controversial towers to be reduced to 23 storeys.
A tender for the destruction of the floors launched by the Zeytinburnu Municipality was cancelled after no company applied to participate in it. The legal process then became stuck after the owner of the towers, Astay Gayrimenkul, appealed the court’s decision to trim the towers.
A second tender has yet to be issued by the municipality and municipality officials are now facing charges for not contracting the destruction within 30 days, as the law requires due to the court decision.
The district governorate is expected to respond to the prosecutor’s request to investigate Zeytinburnu Municipality officials within 45 days.