Ministry Drafts Bill to Remove Authority of ?stanbul Municipality in Bosphorus Area

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  • October 31, 2019
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The opposition-held municipality will not be included in the urban management bodies for the Bosphorus area, according to a draft amendment by the ruling party.

The Ministry of Environment and Urbanism has reportedly drafted an amendment to the Law on Bosphorus to remove the authority of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and four district municipalities in the area around the Bosphorus Strait.

Accordingly, three current bodies for the Bosphorus area will be dissolved and the Directorate of Bosphorus will be founded.

The directorate will have full power on urban-related issues such as planning and zoning, according to the reports by dailies BirGun and SAlzcu.

Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) told Euronews that the draft amendment "is not right" and they will take legal action against it "to the full extent."

Imamoglu won the June 23 repeat elections for the Mayor of Istanbul, ending the 25-year tenure of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessors in the city.

What does the draft amendment say?

The 28-page amendment to the Law on Bosphorus envisages transferring the authority of the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul to the Presidency and the Ministry of Environment and Urban Development.

Accordingly, the Bosphorus Directorate of Zoning, the Bosphorus High Committee for Coordination, and the Bosphorus Administrative Zoning Committee, the Mayor is a member of which, will be dissolved.

The Directorate of Bosphorus will be founded instead, in affiliation with the Ministry. Its chairperson and vice-chairpersons will be appointed by the President. The Bosphorus Committees for the Protection and Regulation of Cultural and Natural Properties will also be formed under the directorate.

CHP Vice-Chair Seyit Torun accused the AKP of "rent-seeking," asking, "What does the President have to do with a parcel of land? Is this under his authority, his duty or his responsibility? Then why did we choose mayors, municipal council members?"

Murat Kurum, the Minister of Environment and Urbanism, told BBC Turkish that the draft bill aims to "protect" the Bosphorus and increase green areas.

When asked about by-passing the municipality, Kurum said, there is currently a "confusion of authority" and they want to "simplify" the system.

Source: English Bianet