Turkish gov’t taking away planning authorization from municipalities

The Turkish government has made law amendments that pave the way to take away the planning authorization from municipalities, making them only executive and supervisor organs on the reconstruction and public works
Thursday, 11 April 2019 13:44

AKP, which lost many metropolitan municipalities including Istanbul and Ankara after the local elections held on March 31 in Turkey, is preparing to restrict the authorities of municipalities related to zoning and urban planning projects.

According to İsmail Şahin from Sözcü daily, with the omnibus bill arrangements issued in the Official Gazette on December 10, 2018, Turkish government amended some provisions of the Planning Law.

The recent amendments in the Turkish Zoning Law have paved the way for the transfer of all zoning and reconstruction authorities to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning. Accordingly, municipalities will now have to comply with the Environmental Plan to be prepared by the Ministry for each province.

The definition of the Environmental Plan in Article 5 of the Planning Law had enacted that "Environmental Plan is the plan that lays down the settlement and land use decisions such as housing, industry, agriculture, tourism, transportation in compliance with regional and national planning decisions."

Yet, this definition has been changed with the amendment made in December 2018 as follows: "The Environmental Plan, which sets out the principles and criteria within the framework of common land use decisions specifying the subscale plans of the settlement and development areas, and sectors in accordance with the objectives and strategies of the spatial strategy plans, if any, is a complete plan in itself with the provisions and report of the plan prepared across a region, basin, or province."


According to the related law, the master plan prepared by the municipality determining the usage patterns of lands on the maps and that forms a basis for the implementary development [zoning] plans will be prepared based on the Environmental Plan.

Thus, the provisions of the Environmental Plan prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning for each province will be "the Zoning Constitution" of the relevant city.

In this situation, municipalities will only be the implementing and supervisory organs in the Turkish Planning Law.

With the amendment made at the end of 2018, the Turkish government also changed the planning levels in Article 6 of the Planning Law.


The ruling AKP is not accepting the results of the local elections particularly in Istanbul and insistently objects to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) on the pretext of ‘electoral fraud’. The rent-seeking network is strongly tied to political power since 2002 and leads to an economic power coming from the metropolitan municipalities like Istanbul and Ankara.

The political party who governs these giant metropolitan municipalities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir also has control over a huge economic power. The AKP seeks to cancel the elections in Istanbul, aiming not to lose its huge rent-seeking networking with pro-government monopolies that have won tenders of almost all huge ‘projects’ of the Turkish government.

As the AKP is unlawfully struggling for a decision of re-election in Istanbul as a center for financial distribution and rent-seeking activities, where has been governed by Islamic capital for 25 years, the main reason behind the AKP’s insistence on the metropolitan municipalities is its concerns to lose this great economic advantage coming from rent-seeking tenders, tens of thousands of bids, and public resources to the parliamentary opposition CHP.