The “Sur Plan” is like a call for leaving

“Sur Action Plan”, which was announced by Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Mehmet Özhaseki, has been criticized by NGOs and occupational organizations which are excluded from the process of project design. Referring to the plan, Chamber of Architects Diyarbakir Branch Chair Şerefhan Aydın says, “This is the first step of gaining unearned income and making benefits available.”

While the curfew continues in 6 neighborhoods of Sur and the appeals for stay of execution are still pending, Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Mehmet Özhaseki announced the “Renewal Action Plan” for Sur. 

According to this plan, the people whose houses are destroyed and who have deeds will be compensated and they will be able to buy houses built by Turkish Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) on credit. Minister Özhaseki presented 3 methods: “The ones who want only money will be paid in accordance with the value of their houses and they will hand their deeds to us. The ones who want an apartment will be able to buy the apartments that we are building in Diyarbakir. The construction will be ended on November or December. We will compare the values of the houses and people will pay the price difference between them on credit. The ones who want to buy TOKİ houses in Urfa, Mardin, İstanbul or elsewhere will be able to trade up. The value of TOKİ houses is already determined.” The minister hadn't made any statement about the status of tenants.

Some registered structures that were damaged are already put out to tender. According to Özhaseki, the tender for Fatih Mosque and Orthodox Church are concluded.

Second exile

NGOs and occupational organizations in Diyarbakir react against the plan that was designed without consulting them.

Speaking to Agos, Chamber of Architects Diyarbakir Branch Chair Şerefhan Aydın sees this plan as the first step of gaining unearned income and making benefits available. Stating that this plan is like a call for leaving to the locals, Aydın emphasized the situation of tenants: “The ones who don't have a deed are the citizens who run away from the civil war during '90s. They are left out by this plan. If it were a plan in favor of the citizens, all dynamics would have been considered.”

Reminding the processes of urban transformation that were stopped in 2009 and 2012, Aydın said that the ones who had moved to TOKİ houses then are now overwhelmed by debts and have moved back to Suriçi: “The locals are fed up. Some of them say that they won't leave no matter what, but they are afraid of the state.”

The Chamber appealed for annulment and stay of execution, but the case is not concluded yet. Aydın is worried that this might end up like Sulukule. “The demolition work continues. The court might rule for annulment after the demolition is done and this decision would be null and void then.”

The minister's office is not against a constructive cooperation”

Eastern and Southeastern Industrialists and Businessmen Associations Federation (DOGUNSİFED) Chair Şahismail Bedirhanoğlu thinks that the result would be wonderful, if the project is implemented as planned. Criticizing the exclusion of NGOs, Bedirhanoğlu said that they meet with Minister Özhaseki after the meeting in Diyarbakir and expressed their criticisms, and the minister said that they are not against a constructive cooperation. Bedirhanoğlu also stated that the next step is the inclusion of the local authorities. 

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