With 500,000 buildings around Turkey needing urgent transformation, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Mehmet Özhaseki has confirmed that the government will provide zero-interest loans to municipalities with a five-year maturity period.
Rolling up its sleeves to make Istanbul ready for the Great Marmara earthquake, the government has developed a new model for urban transformation. Environment and Urban Planning Minister Mehmet Özhaseki said, almost 7.5 million buildings should be transformed throughout Turkey, with 500,000 buildings being transformed within the next year and 200,000 of these building being located in Istanbul.
Giving details of the model that has been developed for the transformation in Istanbul, Minister Özhaseki said that the ministry will provide a five-year loan to municipalities with a two-year grace period and zero-interest.
"The maturity may change but our calculation is based on it," he said. Revealing that starting next year some 500,000 independent units will be demolished, Minister Özhaseki said, "People need to know that it will potentially affect between 250 to 300 various sectors. We're talking about a $45-to-$50 billion market per annum."
Pointing out the two most important challenges facing the urban transformation projects, namely, financing and reserve space, Özhaseki said, if the reserve space problem is not solved, development will continue intensively and as a result, this will lead to many troubles.
With regards to financing, the minister said that there are many investment banks such as the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, adding that when the ministry gives the loans they receive from the said banks to the municipalities, they want to take financial responsibility for the accrued interest as the ministry.
Özhaseki indicated that the municipalities are the first partner in urban transformation in Turkey and the state-owned bank, İlbank is second.
"Changes need to be made to the İlbank law," Özhaseki said, suggesting that a source worth $5 billion would be sufficient to transform 7.5 million buildings in 10 years, provided that the source is recalculated every year.