World Bulletin / News Desk
The Turkish Parliament on Monday morning approved the controversial, government-sponsored Metropolitan Law, which seeks to make changes to the current system of local government.
After Parliament began discussions of the bill recently, deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) got into a battle of words with opposition party members over the bill's content. The opposition -- the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) -- argue that the changes will allow the ruling party to run more municipalities after the next local elections, scheduled for March of 2014.
The law, which was approved after 16 days of parliamentary debates, will transform 13 city municipalities that have more than 750,000 residents into metropolitan municipalities before the next local elections. Turkey currently has 16 metropolitan municipalities. In its metropolitan plans, the AK Party emphasizes the need for strong local administration with expanded borders able to produce optimal municipal services, such as construction planning, the coordination of municipal infrastructure and transportation within municipal boundaries.
The law will allow the city municipalities of Aydın, Balıkesir, Denizli, Hatay, Malatya, Manisa, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Muğla, Tekirdağ, Trabzon, Şanlıurfa and Van to become metropolitan municipalities. Eighty percent of the country's total population -- some 56 million people -- will reside in metropolitan areas after the bill is enacted.
The law will turn some İstanbul villages and villages near other cities into neighborhoods within the boundaries of those metropolitan municipalities. As a result, 16,082 villages and 1,591 towns would lose their legal standing as separate entities.
The law will also revise the distribution of state aid to municipalities, which currently allots more funds to more highly developed cities. In order to ensure a fairer distribution of aid, underdeveloped cities will receive more government funds.
Per the new law, the Ayazağa, Maslak and Huzur neighborhoods of Şişli will become part of Sarıyer district in İstanbul, while some neighborhoods of Ankara's Yeni Mahalle district will be given to the Etimesgut and Çankaya districts.Last Mod: 12 Kasım 2012, 16:09