Council of State delays order of expropriation for 3rd airport

The Council of State has issued a stay on a Cabinet decision for immediate expropriation of a tract of land the size of about 20,000 soccer fields for Istanbuland’s third airport which is under construction in the northern part of the city.
The Cabinet issued an immediate expropriation order, which is normally only adopted at times when national security is at stake, on Jan. 2 of last year. The scheme allowed the then-ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to expropriate a total of 7,650 hectares of land including 6,172 hectares of forest. However, Istanbul Bar Association took the issue to the court on the behalf of residents of the village of Aiaandcli where the almost 80 percent of the total land would be expropriated. The plenary session of the Council of Stateand’s Administrative Case Chambers Committee (DiDDK) ordered a halt, on Oct 22 of last year, on the decision to seize land in the village of Aiaandcli. Aiaandcli is one of the villages most directly affected by the expropriation scheme. So far, 42,000 hectares had been expropriated there by means of the Natural Disaster Law.
The Istanbul Bar Association was officially informed about DiDDKand’s rule on Tuesday. Alev Seher Tuna, president of Istanbul Bar Associationand’s Environment and City Law Commission has said that she was glad that the stay was issued. and”We appealed to the Council of State because national security is not at stake and therefore this kind of immediate expropriation scheme cannot be executed. The chamber has ruled in accordance with our demand. We had always maintained our hope,and” Tuna told the press.
So far, numerous citizens and nongovernmental organizations have taken the expropriations to court. However, the AK Party government has insisted on building a third airport in Istanbul despite large-scale opposition from environmentalists and scientists.
Recently, the Istanbul Administrative Court ordered the suspension of the construction of the third airport. The decision came after an environmental organization filed a lawsuit with the Istanbul 4th Administrative Court, asking for the annulment of the Council of Stateand’s Environmental Impact Analysis (andcED), which played a crucial role in decision of the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry to hold a tender about the construction of the airport.
According to the andcED report prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, 80 percent of the area on which the airport is to be built is forested and over 657,000 trees will have to be cut down and air pollution will increase considerably if the airport is built at the planned location. Of the 7,650 hectares that make up the designated area, 6,172 hectares consists of forested area with some 2,513,341 trees. Of the remaining land, 1,180 hectares are used for mining, 660 hectares constitute a lake, 236 hectares are used for pasture and 60 hectares are used for agricultural activities.
Currently there are two airports in the city — Istanbul Atatandurk Airport, on the European side of the city and Sabiha GandOkandcen International Airport on the Asian side — which are insufficient to meet growing domestic and international passenger demands. In 2011, Istanbul Atatandurk saw more than 37 million passengers and Sabiha GandOkandcen saw over 13 million.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman