HDP co-chair lambasts "amnesties" for illegal constructions
The co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) strongly criticized past "amnesties" for illegal constructions in Turkey, saying that they amount to "apparent legalization of murder."
A recent amnesty had been introduced by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018, which netted some $3bn in revenues for the government. At the time of the amnesty, building experts warned that retrospectively licensing illegal buildings for a fee would have fatal consequences.
"It will mean transforming our cities, notably Istanbul, into graveyards and result in coffins emerging from our homes," said Cemal Gökçe, the chairman of the Chamber of Civil Engineers in 2019.
Speaking at a meeting of HDP's crisis center on Monday, co-chair Mithat Sancar said:
"What the government calls 'construction amnesty' is an amnesty for illegal constructions. The current result of that amnesty is the collapse of thousands of buildings, deaths of tens of thousands of people, and millions left homeless. Eight amnesties had been introduced through legislation in the parliament between 1955 and 2002. A further nine have so far been introduced under governments of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] between 2002 and 2021."
"The AKP governments called it 'construction settlement' and they have also turned it into a channel of income. The number of buildings that were granted license by the amnesty is around three million. Declaring a loose amnesty for three million buildings in Turkey, a country in the earthquake zone, is an apparent legalization of murder."