Transformation may bring large Istanbul expropriation

Transformation may bring large Istanbul expropriation

ISTANBUL - Radikal
Transformation may bring large Istanbul expropriation

Many buildings will be demolished as part of Istanbul’s urban transformation. Hürriyet Photo

The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry is working on plans for a massive new project across 42,000 hectares of land and spanning eight Istanbul districts, with the looming prospect of forced expropriation if compromise is unable to be reached with land and property owners.

The project is related to earthquake precautions and the planned third Istanbul airport, with an area spanning the districts of Avcılar, Küçükçekmece, Bakırköy, Esenyurt, Başakşehir, Esenler, Arnavutköy and Eyüp. If officials are unable to strike agreements with land or property owners then the ministry will be permitted to conduct emergency expropriation in a bid to ensure the continuation of the project against objections and protests.

The planned area is 50 times the size of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu, amounting to one-eighth of Istanbul’s European side. The ministry cites unplanned urbanization and risky buildings as the cause for the project, aiming to provide “safe and healthy living areas” and to eliminate “hazardous, unsafe, unlicensed buildings.”

Agricultural fields, water basins and forested areas are also points of concern in the project, and environmental groups heavily oppose the forced changes that may cause harm to the land.

Three choices

The ministry will be offering three choices to residents and owners in the project area including financial compensation, an already built residence, or a future residence to be built once the project is completed. If the above choices fail to woo the owner, the ministry will now hold the right to force an emergency expropriation of the land.

 Similar measures were taken during the transformations of the Tarlabaşı and Sulukule districts, causing many to come out in opposition to a method that allows the government to exert pressure on residents by threatening expropriation.