İmamoğlu: We will demolish 318 buildings urgently and provide rent aid to 3 thousand 99 families

We Will Destroy Imamoglu Building Urgently and Provide Rental Assistance to Thousand Families
İmamoğlu We Will Demolish 318 Buildings Urgently and Provide Rental Assistance to 3 Families

IMM President Ekrem İmamoğluheld a press conference in which he conveyed Istanbul's earthquake preparedness agenda and new solution proposals. Stating that there are nearly 500 thousand buildings with moderate damage and nearly 90 thousand buildings with heavy and very severe damage in Istanbul, İmamoğlu said, “We have put into service the 'Istanbul Renewal Platform', which offers technical and financial guarantees and includes a turnkey process for Istanbul residents who want to transform their risky structure. From our citizens until today; We received 38 thousand 584 applications covering 127 districts, 996 neighborhoods and 5 thousand 452 independent units. İmamoğlu noted that in addition to the completed projects of KİPTAŞ, the construction of nearly 16 thousand new residences, which requires an investment of 10 billion liras, continues. Pointing out that as a result of the screening studies, they determined that 318 buildings, especially on the west side of Istanbul, were very badly rotten, İmamoğlu said, “We will demolish those 318 buildings in Class D and E as soon as possible. Because there are 3 thousand 99 families living in those buildings. Most of these households are tenants. We will not let these people live in coffins. This year, we will use the 100 million lira budget in our 'Urban Transformation Department' for this process. We will remove those living in these households by providing 'material aid in the form of rent'. Even though the financial aid limit is 1.150 liras, we will bring an offer to our assembly to pay 3 times this amount to families under the conditions of Istanbul. I believe that this proposal will be unanimously removed from our assembly. For the next year, we will increase this budget up to 5 times.”

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) President Ekrem İmamoğluheld a press conference in which he conveyed Istanbul's earthquake preparedness agenda and new solution proposals. Speaking at the meeting titled “Istanbul's New Solution Steps” held at the Haliç Congress Center in Sütlüce, İmamoğlu described the August 23, 17 earthquake, which took 1999 years, as the greatest tragedy in the history of the entire Republic. "23 years have passed since the great earthquake, but we, as a country, could not use this time properly," said İmamoğlu, adding, "The understanding that has governed both Istanbul and Turkey in the 23 years of 20 years has taken the issue of earthquake preparedness seriously from time to time, but unfortunately most of the time. We all experienced together that he gave priority to other works in the background of taking it seriously. For example; When we took office, the data presented to us revealed that in the event of an earthquake in Istanbul, approximately 48 thousand buildings could experience heavy and very heavy damage, and 146 thousand buildings could experience moderate damage. The data that was put before us was extremely worrying. But when we did a detailed study soon after, we saw that these numbers are not correct. After the determinations we have made, we have obtained results showing us that the buildings that can be severely damaged are 1.8 times more, and the buildings that can be moderately damaged are 3.3 times more.”

“ISTANBUL'S EARTHQUAKE RISK IS MUCH HIGHER THAN EXPRESSED”

Emphasizing that Istanbul's earthquake risk is much greater than has been expressed so far, İmamoğlu underlined that they approached the issue seriously from the very beginning. Pointing out that they revised the figures they had after their scientific studies, İmamoğlu stated that they had drawn the most accurate risk map of Istanbul in this context. Saying, “Another proof of how little the earthquake risk was taken by the previous administrations is urban transformation practices,” İmamoğlu said in his speech accompanied by a slide:

“The rationale for the legal regulations on this issue was to make the residential areas in earthquake zones safe, right? So what did they actually do? When you look at the map on this slide, you see what has been done: The areas you see on the yellow background show the areas of the city with high earthquake risk, which were revealed by the scientific analyzes made by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) by the IMM administration at that time after the earthquake. The red-drawn areas are the places that the government has declared as a priority area for urban transformation. You can clearly see how the places declared earthquake risk areas by laws and regulations do not correspond to this study. However, shouldn't urban transformation be primarily in areas with earthquake risk? That means it's not necessary! Yes, there is a transformation, but unfortunately it has little to do with the earthquake. This is another kind of transformation.”

“A COMPLETE COMPLEX OF AUTHORITY IS COMING TOGETHER”

Saying, “As the municipal administration primarily responsible for the safety of Istanbul residents, we face a complete confusion of authority when we want to strengthen our city against the risk of earthquakes,” said İmamoğlu, and shared the information that “There are 24 laws, 11 regulations and 19 institutions that are effective in the decisions regarding the development of Istanbul.” Emphasizing that managing Istanbul and preparing the city for an earthquake is both a holistic task and a task of mobilization, İmamoğlu said, “But no one cares about how so many legislations and so many institutions will work in harmony. Even if the executive people want it, the system they are actually connected to and the understanding that oppresses them, unfortunately, does not give them the will to do this. Moreover; no one wants it. Because the mind that created this mess has no other thought than to take advantage of this mess. For example; A demolition decision we made in Avcılar can be overturned instantly, as if pressing a button, all the way from Ankara. The recent announcement of the 'Special Environmental Protection Area', which is said to have been issued to combat mucilage in the Sea of ​​Marmara, and the fact that the ministry in this region has been authorized is another example of this.”

“SO WHAT ARE WE DOING FOR 3 YEARS?”

Saying, “So what have we been doing for 3 years?” Imamoğlu said, “On the days when we took office, 17 years have passed since August 20, and the earthquake had already been erased from Istanbul's agenda. Istanbul, which was systematically destroyed and the burden on its back increasing day by day, was being plundered as if it had never experienced the pains of 20 years ago. That's why we took action with the understanding of 'mobilization'. We have made many calls to the government and the relevant institutions of the state. At each meeting, we conveyed our request to the relevant politicians and bureaucrats to act together. We said; 'Istanbul's earthquake risk is Turkey's national security issue. Let's work together, taking into account both the size of the problem and its dimensions beyond Istanbul. We said, 'We should never, ever use the issue of urban transformation as a tool for politics'. You all know what kind of response we saw.” Emphasizing that earthquake preparedness can only be done with a holistic understanding, full coordination and common mind, İmamoğlu shared the following information:

“WE PROVIDED TRANSPARENT AND OPEN INFORMATION TO OUR CITIZENS ABOUT THEIR BUILDINGS”

“We have passed many stages so far to create this holistic approach. We held an 'Earthquake Workshop' that gathered scientists and institution representatives. We shared the outputs and solutions with all relevant stakeholders. We wanted the establishment of the 'Earthquake Council'. We said, 'Let's come together as all units of the state, meet around a table and mobilize for our Istanbul'. Building on the limited work done in 2018, we've expanded building reviews across the city. We made building analyzes with the 'Quick Scan Method'. We gave our citizens transparent and open information about their buildings. We have published district risk analysis booklets. We visited 102 thousand buildings, but unfortunately our citizens gave us permission to inspect 29 thousand buildings. This is a photograph of the citizen not wanting to face the facts about the earthquake and running away from it. Citizens do not feel safe in this legal, administrative and administrative mess and do not allow us to examine them for fear of 'If my house turns out to be risky'.

“WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A PROBLEM BUILDING STOCK OF APPROXIMATELY 600K IN TOTAL”

Stating that the policies carried out on the earthquake caused people to look at the issue with a 'material value' focus, İmamoğlu said, “We should change this perspective for the future of our children and our country. Unfortunately, the resulting table turned out to be above our expectations. When we created the most accurate risk map of Istanbul, we saw that; Compared to 2018, the photo in 2020 is much heavier. We have nearly 500 thousand buildings with moderate damage and nearly 90 thousand buildings with heavy and very heavy damage. That's clear. We are talking about a problem building stock of around 600 thousand in total. The children and families of Istanbul live in 600 thousand buildings, which we have mentioned here at once. With the approval of the 'Plan Note on Risky Buildings', we paved the way for the buildings that could not be transformed under the current plan conditions to be rebuilt according to the zoning plan of the time they were built. Buildings on an area of ​​approximately 36 thousand hectares in 300 districts of Istanbul will be able to benefit from the application. This plan note paved the way for the transformation of buildings that could not be transformed in Istanbul for years and became a quick and temporary solution. Because the findings showed us the fact that we made a very quick move.”

“WE OPENED THE 'ISTANBUL RENEWING PLATFORM'”

Stating that they started a plan mobilization in the areas of the city with planning problems and earthquake risk priority, İmamoğlu summarized their actions with the following words:

“We have renewed the plans of our areas with high housing and population, which have been waiting for years without a solution. At first, we prepared 80 regional plans regarding the unresolved and blocked plan problems and sent them to the districts. We continue to work on plans for 68 regions. I must also say that these studies are a record in their field. If you want to do a holistic work on the earthquake issue, you do not declare a parcel-based risky area and make a plan. You usually worry about the poor areas of Istanbul, which has been waiting for zoning problems for 40 years and the building stock is very bad. We have put into service the 'Istanbul Renewal Platform', which includes a turnkey process and offers technical and financial guarantees for Istanbul residents who want to transform their risky structure. From our citizens until today; We received 38 applications covering 584 districts, 127.996 neighborhoods and 5.452 independent units. These applications concern approximately 500 thousand people. I invite the residents of Istanbul to apply to our Istanbul Renewal Platform in the process of making their homes earthquake resistant. Please take this matter seriously. And sign up on our platform for your conversion project. KİPTAŞ, a subsidiary of our municipality, has made an important breakthrough in the earthquake issue in the last period. In addition to the completed projects, it continues the construction of approximately 16 new residences, which require an investment of 10.000 billion TL in total, with an earthquake focus. I would like to underline that this is not a TOKi model. In other words, we do not take it from the poor and transfer it to a handful of rich people. On the contrary, it reveals a housing production system that aims to solve the earthquake problem of the low-income.”

“WHAT DO WE DO NEXT?”

İmamoğlu said, “This is the summary of what we have done by grappling with all kinds of obstacles under the conditions of the pandemic and severe economic crisis,” said İmamoğlu, “The danger we face is so great; No municipality, no ministry, no civil organization can solve this danger alone. As I have said many times, we need a very broad cooperation and a full national mobilization. Istanbul has no other solution. We cannot fall into intimidation and inertia when there is a great risk of earthquakes growing day by day before us. On the contrary; We will be realistic, we will be fast, we will be creative and solution-oriented”. İmamoğlu listed the actions they will take from now on as follows:

“WE WILL PROVIDE RENTAL SUPPORT TO OUR CITIZENS LIVING IN RISKY AREAS, ESPECIALLY TENANTS”

“We will take steps on the use of stock housing. We will ask for authorization to use the stock houses held by IMM in the 'Urban Transformation Project' areas. We will provide rental support especially for our tenant citizens living in risky areas. With the authorization to use; We will ensure that the projects we will produce by using methods such as construction for sale, flat for flat and revenue sharing are evaluated together or separately. In this way, we will accelerate the steps to support the transformation process. However, after this date, we have to take some steps quickly. And we have to start at the very end, with the most disadvantaged buildings. During our scanning studies, there are 318 buildings that we identified, especially on the west side of Istanbul, all of them very badly rotten. We will demolish those 318 buildings in Class D and E as soon as possible. Because there are 3.099 families living in those buildings. Most of these households are tenants. We will not let these people live in coffins. This year, we will use the 100 million lira budget of our 'Urban Transformation Department' for this process. We will remove those living in these households by providing 'material aid in the form of rent'. Even though the financial aid limit is 1.1150 liras, we will bring an offer to our assembly to pay the families 3 times this amount under the conditions of Istanbul. I believe that this proposal will be unanimously removed from our assembly. For the next year, we will increase this budget up to 5 times. By the beginning of the year, we will complete this process by making a decision from our assembly and cooperating with our governorship.”

Saying, "The economic conditions we are going through as a country are clear," İmamoğlu concluded his speech with these words:

“DISASTER DOESN'T HAVE A POLITICS, IT HAS A FIGHT”

“Economic challenges and high interest rates mean it's hard for many businesses to find loans. Even if you get a loan, the cost is very high. Therefore, in today's conditions, it is necessary to create special conditions in order to be prepared for earthquake risk at every level in our city. In particular, it is necessary to develop a special finance model for this business. For all these reasons, we said that we should establish a fully authorized 'Earthquake Council' in Istanbul. We see that this suggestion is neglected. However, the point we have reached in 23 years is obvious. If we go at the pace set in 23 years, 100 years will not be enough for us to protect Istanbul against the risk of earthquakes. In 100 years, most of our now solid houses will become risky. Therefore, we announce that the 'Istanbul Earthquake Planning and Execution Board' must be established as a high-executive committee that will solve Istanbul's earthquake issue firsthand, without the Ministry of Urban Planning as the main actor. We will work for the establishment of the Istanbul Earthquake Council as a priority, with the Nation Alliance and the six-table coming out victorious in the elections next year. Disaster has no politics, disaster has absolute struggle. We are giving that struggle unconditionally; We will continue to give. We have no time to lose, but we have a lot of work to do. In this sense, we will never allow opportunism, the pillage of the city, and other works behind urban transformation and the fight against earthquakes. We will continue to use all our legal rights.”

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