Ankara university land allocated to fire department by city council

The Ankara Metropolitan Municipality City Council has decided to allocate a plot of private land owned by Turgut Ozal University to the fire department, thus blocking the university from building anything on a section of its own property.

The municipal council’s reclassification of the land, which it sold to the university on July 13, 2012, suggested that it would fetch a much lower price in any future sale.

The university had intended to build new dormitories for its students when it bought the land in 2012, but under the chairmanship of recently re-elected Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek, the council rezoned the land at its April meeting as a “service area” for the fire department of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality.

With this decision, the university cannot use the land for any purpose, and the university is banned from building anything on the plot. The council’s justification for the controversial decision was that the municipality is planning to build a faith and history museum on the current site of the city fire department’s headquarters and will need a place on which to build a new fire department building in downtown Ankara. The council’s decision was approved by a majority vote.

The university has the right to appeal the council’s decision at an administrative court. However, even if the court rules in favor of the university, the municipal council can slightly modify and reissue its original decision to achieve the same effect. As the municipality is refusing to declare the price at which it sold the land to the university in 2012, there is speculation in the media that the municipality may want to expropriate the land in the near future.