President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has issued a presidential decree to open 14 million square meters of pasture areas in Turkey’s 11 provinces to construction.
The presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on March 4 says the constructions will be contingent on permits issued by the government.
Public infrastructures and buildings can be built on these pasture lands if the constructions will “serve common good and are of necessity,” said the decree.
The president of the Agriculture and Forestry Union (Tarım Orman-İş), Şükrü Durmuş, told daily Sözcü that this is the largest area of pasture land opened for construction in a single move. “This is a big step taken for the purposes of unearned income with the understanding that no one will make a fuss about it when the agenda of the country is different,” Durmuş said.
The president of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), Özden Güngör, similarly said that the move was driven by rent-seeking actions and the permits will be applied incorrectly, leading to construction of residential buildings and tourism facilities on pasture lands.
Meanwhile, İYİ (Good) Party deputy Ahmet Çelik submitted a parliamentary motion regarding the presidential decree, asking Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum what exactly “the common good” and “state of necessity” mean.
Çelik also asked what the government intends to build on these pasture lands.