Introduction speech from Jean François Pérouse :
Dealing/coping with TOKİ: a new challenge for urban studies in Turkey…
Just a small speech about the framework into which we are gathering here: to understand the transforming role of public bodies in the current urban transformations; and that in a comparative way. In fact we are witnessing a wonderful implication of so-called public bodies in the occurring processes.
In this respect, nowadays TOKİ, the Mass Housing Administration which is directly linked to the Prime Ministry, could be considered as a very striking body: this is a product of the state which embodies remarkably its structural transformations occurred the last years. TOKİ in fact means both the recentralization of housing policies in Turkey and the most incredible achievement of public-private cooperation.
Besides TOKİ has become a monster or a giant, symbolizing the success story of AKP: the current government indeed is using TOKİ as a tool of propaganda (especially on the eve of elections)
In quantitative terms: As we can see on this slide between 2003 and the end of 2010 TOKİ has built 462 582 housing units; among them 193 456 for lower middle classes and middle classes, 125 277 for low income and poor families, 72 942 for upper classes, 53 547 for preventing illegal housing development, 13 311 after disaster housing units, and at least 4 501 for rural areas.
- TOKİ had got awards from United Nations… (for the transformation project of the Erzincan’s market)
- In terms of urban land portfolio: number one urban land owner in Turkey….
- In terms of media interventions: TOKİ is everywhere; abroad: in Venezuela, in Kuwait, in Romania, in Morocco, in Nigeria; TOKİ in the border with Irak, TOKİ in restoration sector, TOKİ is buildings the deputy housing units, TOKİ is the developer of the recently opened Galatasaray Team new stadium, TOKİ is doing villas for rich foreigners in the southern coast, luxurious villas near the Black Sea in Sinop …
- TOKİ is everywhere: no way to escape TOKİ; in 56 provinces all around the country ıth many many superlatives; “the biggest satellite-city in Turkey”: Kayabaşı…(Sunday) ; and furthermore TOKİ is leading in Istanbul 18 “Urban Transformation” projects ;
As a result, TOKİ is a monster, but a discussed monster, even inside the conservative ranks:
- For instance recently an influent member of the Turkish Independent Businessmen Association (namely MÜSİAD) had clearly declared that TOKİ should get out of middle and upper class housing units production, at least because of illegal concurrence practices… “Hayat öpücük” or “ölüm öpücük” for the Turkish construction sector?
Discussed because of its non-accountability (see Zafer Yükseler Fortune, March 2009 “Pandora Box”…) : 975 projects, 25 billions of TL….
Discussed because of its ambiguous statute ; see Esra Kaya, Birgün Newsweek, 12 04 2010 : “TOKİ, a private company inside the state.”
- Because of its authoritarian ruling methods; see Çağlar Keyder speaking about “The Diktat reign of Toki” ;
- Because of architectural, aesthetic reasons….; this is a huge standardization machine acting all around the country.
So how to cope with the (uncontrolled) powerful Mass Housing Administration? Let’s see, in this context:
- The genesis of a monster or the un-negociated recentralization of Turkish housing policy : initial competences, and progressive empowerment of a central agency.
- The relationship with the private sector and the meaning of the "incomes sharing" (hasilat paylaşımı, geliştirme..) system's
- And let’s understand TOKI through its first Istanbul implementations in Istanbul especially as an urban model-maker… with Ayazma case.