17 August Monday

Grounds laid for the first urban transformation project of İstanbul

The first “Earthquake Transformation Project” of Istanbul has been launched in Zeytinburnu. Mayor Kadir Topbaş stressed that the transformation of Sümer Neighborhood will be based on equivalence and protection of rights, and said, "I want to establish spaces where our people will live in peace by transferring my knowledge to this city which has raised me."

On the 10th anniversary of the Marmara Earthquake, Kadir Topbaş, the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor, has laid the grounds for the Sümer Neighborhood Project, which is the first stage of the “Zeytinburnu Earthquake-based Urban Transformation Project.” Murat Aydın, Mayor o Zeytinburnu Municipality, Aziz Yeniay, Mayor of Küçükçekmece Municipality, Tevfik Göksu, Mayor of Esenler Municipality, Muzaffer Hacımustafaoğlu, Assistant General Secretary for Transportaton of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Mevlüt Vural, General Director of Istanbul Water and Sewage Administration, and İsmet Yıldırım, General Director of KİPTAŞ were among the attendees of the ceremony held at the neighborhood.

First stage of the project to be finished in 2 years
The Sümer Neighborhood Project covers a housing area of 171.000 m2 as well as a commercial area of 46.500 m2. In the scope of the project, the general appearance of the neighborhood will be preserved while a total of 1280 houses and shops will be constructed in 1+1, 2+1, 3+1 and 4+1 arrangement. The project also includes interior gardens, sports facilities, children's playgrounds and closed parking lots. Each flat will be assigned with a closed parking space. During the first stage of the urban transformation process, 642 flats and 22 shops will be constructed. This first state, which will be completed in 2 years, will cost TL 400m.

Agreements based on flats for land…

For the implementation of the project, 75% of the agreement will be based on the "flat for land" model. In accordance with this, 75 m2 will be given free of charge to anyone who has a flat of 100 m2. Should there be a difference in meter squares of the available flat and the prospective flat, this difference shall be collected on a 10-year bank loan. Should the citizen have a smaller area than he has provided, the difference shall be paid by KİPTAŞ. The Zeytinburnu Sümer Neighborhood Earthquake-Based Urban Transformation Project will a model in all aspects. First the houses will be constructed and delivered. Then the beneficiaries will move in to their flats, and finally the problematic buildings will be destructed.

A chain of investments amounting up to TL 1bn for preparation for an earthquake...
Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, in his speech at the ceremony, highlighted the importance of this project on the 10th anniversary of the Marmara Earthquake, and said that the municipality reviewed approximately 120.000 buildings individually in the Fatih and Küçükçekmece districts to identify the performance of the available building stock in case of an earthquake. Topbaş underlined that, among the 16030 buildings in Zeytinburnu, 2.295 (14%) were identified to bear high risks for earthquakes, and therefore the district was selected as the pilot area for urban transformation. Topbaş said the transformation was started with the Sümer Neighborhood, which was the most problematic area in the district, and that the project aims to make Zeytinburnu one of the highly needed new core areas of Istanbul as well as constructing safe buildings there.

Recalling other constructions, including public buildings, crossroads, bridges and viaducts, to prepare Istanbul for a possible earthquake, Topbaş said the municipality strives hard to make the private buildings earthquake-resistant via urban transformation projects. Stressing that a total of TL 1.019m of investment was made in preparation for earthquakes, Topbaş went on as follows:

“We have to stand hand in hand against earthquake”
“We do not stop; we go on with our works to eliminate the risk of earthquakes in Istanbul. We have identified the performance of the buildings against earthquakes by scanning hundreds of thousands of buildings in Bahçelievler, Fatih, Bayrampaşa and Zeytinburnu. Now it is the time for urban transformation. The politicians were supposed to say, 'This project is right. We will support it.' How can any administration or any political party ignore the destruction of citizens in a possible earthquake? They were talking about this in Tuzla, Kartal, Maltepe, Sarıyer and Beykoz before the local elections. We are offering homes to people who will own them by paying installments like rents. How can we be seizing their homes? Our government has assigned TOKİ (Mass Housing Administration) to sell flats for TL 100 a month, and they say we are seizing what the people have. But, unfortunately, they are saying so, and our people cannot trust in us. However, we have to take these steps in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and our citizens against earthquakes. This not our destiny.”

“Dear Mayor, when will this come to our neighborhood?"
Mayor Topbaş stressed that he has instructed Murat Aydın and İsmet Yıldırım not to let anyone suffer, and said, “We do not want to break hearts. I told them to 'take steps on the basis of equivalence and not to touch anyone who is not willing.’ We have started construction with the sports field which was moved to another location with a cost of TL 3m, just to show our people how our buildings will look like. What I want is to construct durable and modern buildings in Zeytinburnu and to make the owners of other buildings here to say ‘Dear Mayor, when will this come to our neighborhood?’ My God knows my heart. This is what I aspire. We have to construct strong buildings while consolidating the existing ones."

“I want to transfer my knowledge to this city which has raised me…”

Topbaş said, “This city has raised me. It gave me an opportunity of education on urbanization. I want to transfer my knowledge to this city", and indicated that there will be several models of urban transformation in various locations. Topbaş went on to say, “The world will be surprised. Our people will be happy. This is what I want. I want to offer many beauties to the residents of Istanbul. You see what we have done in 5 years and how far Istanbul has come. The first stage of the Sümer Neighborhood Project will cost TL400m and will be completed in 2 years. And after 2 years, we will move people to these new flats, and we will destruct the existing buildings to launch the second stage of the project."

“We will not let anyone suffer"
Topbaş stressed that the mentality which has led to this crooked constructions in Istanbul now tries to stop this great transformation project, and said, “The people will come from Tuzla, Kartal or Maltepe and say ‘We have been deceived. The politicians have deceived us for their policies. Now we trust in you'. It is our mission to solve their problems. We are here for you. Warn us whenever you think we are doing wrong. Contact me or the General Director of KİPTAŞ and tell you complaints. We will not let anyone suffer. I put this clearly and loudly. And nobody will get anything they do not deserve. I would also like to stress that there will be a 100% difference in value between the old buildings and the new ones. Therefore, I recommend our citizens not to sell their rights to anyone. Wait until the end, and your available value will be two-folds. I underline this."

Housing for even those without housing or certificate of ownership
Murat Aydın, Mayor of Zeytinburnu Municipality, in his speech at the ceremony, said that they have been consulting everyone for 2 years and have prepared the project in accordance with this consultancy. Aydın stressed that nobody has suffered as everyone, including those without housing or certificate of ownership, were given a flat. Aydın said they support the project as they did not want the citizens under the rubbles in case of an earthquake, and said, “We will construct new and strong buildings. Some oppose this. It is true that we give a 75 m2 flat against a 100 m2 land. But we also assign a parking lot of 25m2 to everyone. Therefore, suffering is out of question here.”

Following the speeches, Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Murat Aydın and the other attendees pressed the button to lay the grounds for the Sümer Neighborhood Project, which the first stage of the “Zeytinburnu Earthquake-Based Urban Transformation Project."

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