Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ)’s Urban and Regional Planning Department academics criticized the presidential decree on rapid construction after the Feb. 6 earthquakes by publishing a statement on the department’s website. After the move, the university administration blocked access to the website for hours and re-opened it after public backlash, online news outlet Diken reported on April 1.
ITU’s Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban and Regional Planning published the declaration of the “Union of Planning Schools of Turkey” on March 28 on the department's website. The declaration criticized the “Presidential Decree on Settlement and Construction under the State of Emergency” issued after the Feb. 6 earthquakes.
The academics stated that even though the decree aimed to respond immediate need for shelter arising from the earthquake, it ignored the opinions of the scientists and professionals. They emphasized that rapid construction in the quake-zone could lead to major problems in the long term.
The presidential decree allowed rapid construction in the quake zone's residential areas without waiting for planning and zonning studies. The academics warned that a comprehensive analysis should be conducted before the establishment of permanent settlements.
On March 31, the department's website was blocked by the school's IT department due to “legal or technical necessities.” The site was down for about four hours and reopened after the move stirred a huge reaction on social media.
In Turkey, university rectors are appointed by President and most of them are selected from pro-government figures.