Amnesty issues statement on human rights and urban transformation projects in Turkey

Children in Tarlabasi.  Open source from Wikicommons

Children in Tarlabasi. Open source from Wikicommons

In advance of the March 30 local elections in Turkey, Amnesty International has issued a statement calling on all parties to commit to “[conducting] urban transformation projects only in a way which respects the human rights of all residents.”

The statement notes several on-going problems with the way urban development projects are undertaken in Turkey, including a lack of transparency and failure to engage in genuine consultation.

These problems were painfully evident in the redevelopment of the Tarlabasi district, where Amnesty highlighted the heavy-handed eviction of residents and, most famously, in government development plans for Gezi Park“Amnesty International calls on the authorities to provide effective remedies to all those who have been forcibly evicted as a result of urban regeneration projects,” the statement says and notes that “local authorities have an obligation to uphold Turkey’s international human rights commitments every bit as much as the central government.”

On March 17, Amnesty International plans to “will announce the names of all the candidates who have declared their support for and accepted our recommendations and inform the public about the candidates that have made a commitment to pursuing human rights compliant urban transformation projects.”

Howard Eissenstat
St. Lawrence University

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