Violation of ODTÜ Campus on 18th October 2013, Statement from the Rector's Office
This statement is
considered necessary in response to the popular concern of staff, press and the
general public about the violation of our campus by the Ankara Metropolitan
Municipality on the night of the 18th October 2013.
On the 2nd October 2013,
ODTÜ was notified by fax that the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning
had approved the Plan of Conservation and Development. However, the Plan which
was not attached to the fax was only received on Friday, 11th October 2013. The
Plan proposed by ODTÜ had apparently been changed in several ways by the
authorities, contrary to the statements released earlier to the press. Under
the regulations, ODTÜ had until the 4th November 2013 to file any objections.
On the same day the
university received the Plan (11th October), we contacted the Ministry,
Municipality and state authorities to notify them of our intention to object to
the Plan, and asked them not to initiate action during the legal appeals
period. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality (ABB) Acting Director of Technical
Services and the Director of Development and Urban Planning both verbally
assured us that they would not start action without contacting the university.
The same day, we also notified the ABB in writing that we would not want any
action before the end of the legal appeals process.
Despite these assurances,
an unexpected night operation was initiated by the ABB on Friday, 18th October
2013 without waiting for the end of the appeals process. At 21:15, ABB heavy
construction machinery, construction teams and personnel entered the campus
without consent and began tearing down our hedges in the 100. Yıl Öğretmenler
Bulvarı area. The university security personnel warned them not to violate the
campus and attempted to stop them. However, they failed in their efforts
against the trucks, heavy machinery and municipality personnel.
The local 10 Nisan Police
Station was notified several times by phone regarding the violation of the
campus and the unlawful removal of trees that are ODTÜ property. A written
appeal was also made. However, the Police did not take action or accept the
written appeal. The unlawful procedure was simultaneously communicated to the
Municipality Construction Team Chief, who likewise refused to accept a written
Written appeals were also
made to the Ankara governor's office, the Provincial Police Directorate and the
ABB for the action to be stopped. The governor was personally contacted by
phone to notify him of the violation and ask him to bring it to an end.
However, the Municipality teams remained on campus until 06.30 a.m.
On the morning of the
19th October, we saw that all of the 3,000 trees on the route inside our campus
had been destroyed. Of these, 600 pines were to be transplanted. We were not
informed about how these were removed, but it is clearly not possible to
transplant 600 trees overnight.
ODTÜ has contributed with
good will towards a legal solution of the road construction issue. In response,
our campus was raided at night without waiting for the end of the legal process
regarding the Plan of Conservation and Development; construction was started
illegitimately; and the trees which are university property were destroyed.
We will take all legal
action necessary against this violation. Our university strongly condemns this
attitude that in no way complies with well-intentioned and responsible public