World Bulletin / News Desk
In parallel with Parliament's decision to hold early municipal elections, the government has sped up work on passing a bill called the “metropolitan law” that will make changes to the current system of local government.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) wants to transform 13 city municipalities into metropolitan municipalities before the upcoming municipal election, to be held in October 2013. The matter is due to be discussed in Parliament over the next week.
In justification of the bill that was recently submitted to the Parliament Speaker's Office, the government emphasizes the need for strong local administration with expanded borders able to produce optimal municipal services, such as construction planning, coordination of municipal infrastructure and transportation within municipal boundaries.
The first legal arrangements expanding the borders of metropolitan municipalities to meet provincial borders were made in 2004, creating İstanbul's and Kocaeli's metropolitan municipalities. The successful pilot project of these two cities is cited as an example of how the system will work, and the effective management of municipal services in these cities is highlighted.
As a first in Turkey, the Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir municipalities became metropolitan municipalities in 1984. The number of metropolitan municipalities increased to eight in 1988 with the addition of Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Konya and Kayseri. In 1993, the Antalya, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, Erzurum, Mersin, İzmit and Samsun municipalities became metropolitan municipalities.
According to the bill, new districts can be established within the borders of metropolitan municipalities. The 13 cities due to become metropolitan municipalities are Aydın, Balıkesir, Denizli, Hatay, Malatya, Manisa, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Muğla, Tekirdağ, Trabzon, Şanlıurfa and Van. After the bill is enacted, 80 percent of the country's total populations -- some 56 million people -- will reside in metropolitan cities.
Surrounding towns will become neighborhoods of the city; there will no longer be separate municipalities for these towns. Instead, the muhtars (village headmen) will govern these towns. The state further plans to turn villages near the cities into neighborhoods within the boundaries of the metropolitan municipalities. As a result, the standing of 1,682 villages and 1,591 towns as legal entities will end.
The bill also redefines the metropolitan municipality and rearranges the responsibilities of the municipalities and metropolitan municipalities. According to the bill, representatives of relevant professional organizations who currently have no right to vote but are able to attend the meetings of the Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) in order to express their opinions will be entitled to vote.
With the bill, the practice of renting the property of metropolitan municipalities to third parties without holding a tender to uphold the conditions of fair competition will be ended.
The revenue generated from parking lots in metropolitan municipalities will be used only to build new parking lots. The metropolitan municipalities will be allowed to sponsor amateur sports clubs and grant prizes to athletes who achieve success in international competition, as well as their coaches.Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2012, 17:25