Court row looms over Turkish government complex
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
ANKARA – Turkey’s Chamber of Environmental Engineers applied to the country’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday to halt the building of a new prime ministry complex in an Ankara forest.
"We want to protect [the forest] which stands before us as the value of mankind," said the head of the union in Ankara, Tezcan Karakus Candan, while standing outside Turkey’s highest court.
The government is currently finishing the construction of the complex, which will be opened in the upcoming months in the Ataturk Forestry Farm.
In February 2012, Ankara’s Natural Reserves Commission reduced the degree of protection for the forest, allowing the complex to be built.
However, in March this year an Ankara court halted construction and upheld the protected status of the site, saying the commission did not cite any research concerning historical features of the forest.
Candan said her union might appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, depending on the Constitutional Court’s decision.
"We will continue our struggle in the international environment," Candan said.
Last year, a bill was passed, removing the TMMOB union from any involvement in city planning processes.
Known as ‘the lungs of Ankara’, the Ataturk Forestry Farm includes a zoo, several small agricultural farms, greenhouses, a dairy farm and brewery.
The forest was established in 1925 by Turkey’s first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who donated it to the state.
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