TOKİ President Erdoğan Bayraktar, who spoke at an information meeting about the Housing Convention 2011 on Wednesday, said TOKİ will bring together national and international specialists in urban renewal at a convention to be held March 4-5 in İstanbul. He said their objective is to create a more modern Turkey where all buildings are earthquake resistant but added that this will only be possible with support from all parties involved in the urban renewal of the country.
“Turkey is currently undergoing a transformation, and it is growing. TOKİ would like to contribute to the modern urbanization of Turkey and make it a country where all buildings are earthquake resistant. We cannot do this without the support of all parties. Therefore, TOKİ is organizing Housing Convention 2011 in İstanbul to talk with people specialized in the field of urban renewal,” Bayraktar said.
TOKİ has constructed more than 500,000 buildings across Turkey since 2002. Bayraktar said his administration aims to reach the 1 million building mark by 2023, the centenary year of the Turkish Republic. He noted that TOKİ has focused on providing inexpensive but high-quality housing on payment plans stretching over 15-20 years. “At TOKİ we believe it is our responsibility to renew old, shanty districts in cities into modern living areas that are earthquake resistant. We say that Turkey cannot be seen to be a developed country until it gets rid of shanties and buildings constructed without proper building permits. And to achieve this, urban renewal cannot be ignored,” he added.
Housing Convention 2011 will host many specialists from the US, Mexico, South Korea, the UK and Japan. The convention is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director Joan Clos, Dutch sociologist and co-director of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought Saskia Sassen, Tokyo’s Governor Shintaro Ishihara, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Housing Finance Investments and Advisory Services Specialist Douglas Grayson, International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) President Ismael Fernandez Meija, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Environment and Sustainable Development Programme Manager for Turkey Katalin Zaim, Turkish architect Emre Arolat and many other people who are seen as authorities in the field of urban renewal. Specialists will discuss and offer suggestions on housing and living areas in cities that are under threat of natural disaster and in particular Turkish cities that face the risk of earthquake.