Turkey - Urban Areas
While in 1950 there were only two cities with more than 500 thousand dwellers, today this number exceeded 40. Consequently, through the Metropolitan Municipality Law accepted in 1984, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir were declared as metropolitan municipalities. Within the first decade, the number of metropolitan municipalities rose to 8, and to 16 in the second decade, and it rose to 30 in 2014. Meanwhile, Turkish cities provided locomotive force for growth, industrialization and economic development. However, since this process could not be managed through an entirely planned urbanization as desired, it accompanied problems such as destruction of natural environment, urban poverty, inequality, vulnerability against disasters, inadequate housing, increased emissions, lack of infrastructure and increased traffic.
In order to address these challenges, several measures such as improving the legislation of construction and land development, increasing the efficiency of spatial planning practice, placing emphasis on urban planning education, supporting urban infrastructure investments to prevent environmental pollution, production of mass housing units for different income groups and establishing organized industrial zones were taken.
The practice of metropolitan municipality was first introduced in 1984 for Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, the largest three cities in Turkey. Over time, the status was accorded to 16 cities. In 2013, metropolitan municipalities were established in 14 provinces with population larger than 750,000 thus making the total figure 30.
When more provinces were accorded the metropolitan status in 2013, the local government system in such provinces was reorganized. The boundaries of metropolitan municipalities were extended to those of the respective provinces, and special provincial administrations villages were abolished. The metropolitan municipality, as the sole local government in such provinces in Turkey, assumed the local government services in the entire province.
Upon the conference of powers and responsibilities beyond the urban boundaries to cover an entire province, metropolitan municipalities are now in charge of rural administration in addition to urban administration. The reform introduced a two-tier municipal system in the larger part of the country, empowering both district municipalities and metropolitan municipality in the same jurisdiction. Metropolitan municipalities hold approximately 60 million of the national population of 77,695,904, that is 77% of the population live within metropolitan boundaries.
Where 30 provinces have the metropolitan system, the remaining 51 provinces of Turkey have a single-tier municipal system. Local services in these provinces are usually delivered by municipalities in the urban areas, and by special provincial administrations in the rural areas. Special provincial administrations are additionally in charge of such public services as agriculture, livestock, sports, culture and education within the remit of the central government in the entire province including municipal areas.
Provincial municipalities (in 51 provinces) have no hierarchical or tutelage relation with district or town municipalities within the same province. However, these municipalities may form or join in municipal associations by own free will to jointly discharge certain services as waste management, water supply etc. The 51 non-metropolitan provincial municipalities hold a total population of 6,502,018 corresponding to 9% of the total population within municipal boundaries.
Non-metropolitan provinces have a total of 400 districts. The functions and organization of provincial municipalities are not different than those of district municipalities except for the scale. Resolutions of district municipal councils shall not enter into force without being communicated to district governors, the representatives of the central government. District governors though are not authorized to refer a resolution back to the council. District municipalities hold a total population of 4,815,668 corresponding to 7% of the total population within municipal boundaries.
Towns usually have only the municipality as a public organization. There are 396 town municipalities in Turkey, with a total population of 1,218,925 corresponding to 2% of the total population within municipal boundaries. As in other municipalities, towns also have a municipal council, a municipal executive committee and a mayor. Towns are usually of rural nature, engaged in agriculture and livestock husbandry as major means of livelihood. The same law prescribes the functions and responsibilities of provincial, district and town municipalities without distinction. Except for metropolitan municipalities, all municipalities have the same organization, functions and powers.
From flats in urban centers to villas in suburbs, there are a multitude of options to choose from when looking for housing in Turkey. Major metropolitan areas have the most modern and complete environment for an extravagant life in the city, where luxurious residence complexes offer all the daily amenities such as private security, kindergartens, sports complexes, social facilities, parking lots, and shopping malls for their residents. Opportunities and life quality standards offered by cities compared to the lack of integrated development of economic, social and physical infrastructure and services in rural areas make migration from rural areas to cities unavoidable, and this in turn leads to irregular development of cities. Guiding practices are being carried out in order to increase the fertility of the lands of rural settlements whose number is approaching 40 thousand, to provide infrastructure services efficiently, to employ the dwellers in the regions they live, to expand agricultural businesses and to support agricultural production and to improve the quality of life in rural areas.
Istanbul is one of the most enchanting destinations and the only metropolis in the World that merges two continents. With the Western half of Istanbul in Europe & the Eastern in Asia with the Bosphorus Strait flowing between them, it not only offers a rich historical heritage, but also a unique experience of entertainment, art culture, gastronomy and shopping to its locals and visitors. The historic areas of Istanbul was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1985, offering the most prominent examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.
Ankara, which is located in the Inner Anatolia Region and is also the capital of Turkey, is a very important province with its history. It is a region where many civilizations have lived due to the fact that it is located almost in the middle of Anatolia, it has suitable living conditions and since it on the transit route.
Izmir, as Turkey’s third biggest city, is a modern, well developed and productive trade center. Izmir offers different types of tourism with its geographic location, cultural and historical wealth, European mindset, easy transportation as a passage point between different regions (transportation is convenient by means of sea, land and airways) and with its mild climate suitable for tourism. The city’s social and cultural atmosphere allows diverse cultural and artistic activities as well; it has a seashore length of 629 km and 101 km of this length consists of completely natural beaches.
Numbeo website compares 5000 cities in terms of various criterias such as population, traffic and cost. Bursa’s rank has risen from 48th to 37th in 2016. Index has been created by considering criteria’s like crime rates, health care, cost and population growth. The highly valued city for this index is Canberra from Australia, Adelaide from Australia (2nd) and Zurich from Switzerland (3rd). Regarding to this study; Izmir’s rank has risen from 91st to 62nd; Ankara’s rank from 97th to 95th and Istanbul’s rank 106th to 102nd.
Adana is the sixth most populated city in Turkey. City center is located on Seyhan River, 30 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. On the Mediterranean coastline, it has two coastal districts which are Karatas and Yumurtalik (Ayas). Also, there is a port for commercial purposes in Ceyhan District, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea. Adana is one of the cities that contributes significantly to the economy of the country.
Gaziantep, formerly known as Antep, is the center town of the same name city located between Southeastern Anatolia Region and Mediterranean Region. The city has the largest population in the southeast. It is the first in terms of industry and development. Gaziantep is divided into two metropolitan towns: Sehit Kamil and Sahinbey. In terms of development, it is the 20th largest city in Turkey. In addition, Gaziantep is the oldest city in Turkey and is still one of the oldest cities in the world. Besides Gaziantep also has an important place in industry and trade of Turkey. The reasons for this include the its location between Anatolia and the Middle East, and its proximity to the port cities. Symbols of Gaziantep include Gaziantep Castle, Baklava and Pistachio.
Konya Province is located in the south of the Central Anatolia Region in the middle of the Anatolian Peninsula. City is the province with the largest surface area in Turkey. Located close to the city center, Çatalhöyük is known as the oldest and most advanced Neolithic period settlement ever discovered. Konya was known as “Iconium” during the Roman Empire period. It has been the capital of the Seljuk Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries and is one of Turkey's largest cultural centers.
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