The Istanbul Greater City Municipality (İBB) has begun efforts to start having deceased residents of Istanbul buried in their hometowns, as authorities have announced that within 20 years there will be no space left in the city to bury the dead.
Onaverage, 77,000 people die in Istanbul each year, with around 30percent of these people's bodies transported to their hometownselsewhere in Turkey, where their funerals are held.
Accordingto İBB Cemeteries Bureau head Dr. Ayhan Koç, the city requires250,000 square meters of new land each year to meet demand forgraveyard space.
“Wecan decrease this need by burying the deceased in the provinces inwhich they were born. For the next three to five years this problemmight not arise but within 20 years there will absolutely not bepossible to find a place in Istanbul to bury the dead,” Koç toldthe daily Milliyet newspaper.
“Asolution needs to be found, and the best solution is to ensure thatthey are transported to Anatolia. We are engaged in efforts involvingburying more than half of those dying in Istanbul in theirhometowns,” Koç said, adding that the İBB aims to transportbodies by car, train and plane, and that the expenses will be fullycovered by the municipality.
Some iconic cemeteries in Istanbul are in heavy demand, such as the Karacaahmet, Çengelköy, Nakkaştepe, Zincirlikuyu, Ulus, Aşiyan, and Abide-i Hürriyet cemetaries, central areas where securing a grave costs 34,000 TL. Cemeteries in the district of Pendik and Maltepe on the Anatolian side of the city cost 14,000 TL, while those in more distant districts like Tuzla, Ümraniye, and Çekmeköy cost 4500 TL. The price for grave sites in cemeteries belonging to non-Muslim communities including Greeks, Jews and Armenians cost 7,150 TL. The cheapest cemeteries in the city cost as low as 100 TL for a burial site.