President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated that municipalities should push for horizontal urbanization against high-rise buildings in cities in a bid to highlight his government’s pro-environment stance with upcoming local elections slated for March 2019.
“We have told our own mayors. No vertical architecture but horizontal architecture,” Erdoğan said at a meeting in Ankara on the occasion of World Urbanism Day on Nov. 8.
During his speech, he called on Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum to pay attention to his words on horizontal urbanization.
“Our biggest failure has been our inability to protect our cities where architectural magnificence meet spiritual depth. I am of the opinion that we are not fully aware of the ancient heritage we own,” he said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) needs to display its understanding of environmentalism and urbanization, Erdoğan stressed, saying the upcoming local elections were a very good chance to do so.
“We have planted millions of trees until today. We are the ones who have sown them, not the ones who cut them,” said the president.
Turkey’s forest land has increased 1.5 million hectares under AKP rule, Erdoğan added.
Cities like Bukhara, Samarkand, Tabriz, Jerusalem, Medina, Baghdad and Damascus as the center of civilization have represented a very good combination of architecture with environmental richness, he said.
The municipalities, therefore, should be able to reflect the architectural heritages of ancient Islamic, Ottoman and Seljuk empires to the Turkish cities, the president said.