Concretion of Last Green Fields in Turkish Cities

Most Turkish cities have lacked a city planning until very recently and the way cities have grown so far since the establishment of the Republic, have been quite security oriented; allowing military bases in key points, structuring all the districts in terms of a major security plan, planting necessary sites in certain areas etc. This kind of planning, however proved to be very unproductive for civilian life and economy, enriched the cities with green fields untouched by civilians. As military bases needed to be covered in natural environment (as they would have been outside of the cities), they had turned the city centers into green fields of military sites.

Demilitarization process of the country still continues, and one major leg of this process is to take these major and minor military sites outside of civilian life, where military can secure the bases much easier and civilian life and economy can continue without any slowdown. The areas to be evacuated of military bases will have few buildings in them; and most recently Ministry of Environment and Urbanism has officially applied to use the sites that will be let go by the Ministry of Defense.

Currently there can not be any construction in these military zones; yet if the application of Ministry of Environment and Urbanism gets approved, the state treasury will own the lands which will then be distributed to municipalities for subdivide and open to construction projects. There is of course nothing wrong with starting construction sites and build residential and economic zones in the already concreted zones, yet in the absence of city parks in majority of the cities these newly released green fields could have been used for community-purposes rather than adding new buildings to already chaotic city centers in Turkey.

(The Highway Construction Leading to Third Bridge)

These plans have been revealed a month after it was discovered that the government had accidentally chopped down hundreds of thousands of trees in Istanbul for the construction of a third Bosphorus Bridge. The location of the construction of new high way was calculated wrong, which eventually had led to deforestation of a vast green area.

Environmentalists in Turkey remember the example of 2010 Istanbul-Sariyer Airbase, where 500 decares of land was evacuated and later allowed civilian construction, and later on led to building of 5 storey structures in the part of the city that did not have any building above 2 storeys before. The level of corruption of course plays a major role in this, yet even consideration of opening these last remaining green fields to construction worries many people as the percentage of green space continually decreases in the country through fires, constructions and simply deforestation. 

This entry was posted in AKP, Environment, Europeanization, Istanbul, Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

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