Gov’t begins major urban transformation project at heart of Istanbul

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Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım launched a major urban transformation project led by the Turkish government in the Fikirtepe neighborhood of the Kadıköy district at the heart of Istanbul’s Asian side on Feb. 5.

“Urban transformation is one of the most important achievements of our government,” Yıldırım told a crowd, recalling that in 2002 one of the most significant issues that Turkey suffered from was housing shortages. 

“We rolled up our sleeves and launched a major housing mobilization. In a short period of time, we’ve started carrying out housing projects not only in a few provinces but all over Turkey,” he said.

Yıldırım said the state was planning to construct 10,000 houses as part of the new project, adding that a total of 35,000 houses would be built in the neighborhood. 

He said the government’s determination continued ceaselessly like the first days of their tenure. “Our job is service and our power comes from you,” he added. 

“I feel excited when bringing these projects, which I believe will be a cure to people’s problem and lives. Each project that we lay the foundation of grows our citizens’ businesses and needs. With every investment, we provide new business areas. We provide new areas of employment. With these gigantic projects, we are not only building today, but we are also building tomorrow. They are done for the people,” Yıldırım said. 

Turkish Environment and Urban Minister Mehmet Özhaseki had earlier told state-run Anadolu Agency that the government will work on areas where construction agreements have been put on hold, adding that there would be no blocks left without construction until mid-2017.

He said the residents of Fikirtepe suffered mostly from contractors’ long-lasting issues. 

“The contractors went bankrupt. When they went bankrupt, hundreds of citizens who trusted them suffered. There were legal issues in some of them. In some, there were conflicts between the contractors and in some of them the citizens leaned toward different choices, thus there were plenty of blocks where constructions were left incomplete,” he said. 

Özhaseki said the new project, with the cooperation of İLBANK and the Istanbul Housing Master Plan Enterprise (KİPTAŞ), will save citizens, noting that the construction would first begin in 15 blocks. 

“In 10 or 11 of the blocks, we will begin by pouring concrete. In some of them we will help by carrying out demolitions,” he said. 

Özhaseki said the constructions in Fikirtepe are expected to last for two to three years because the buildings would be high-rise.

“At least the citizens will see that their houses are being constructed and they will be happy. They will know the date their houses would be ready. They will be rescued from desperation,” he added.

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