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Tailor-made laws in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Restricting municipalities’ powers on transportation in metropolitan areas - Tailor-made laws in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Restricting municipalities’ powers on transportation in metropolitan areas

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Introduction

This regulation amends the membership structure and appointment procedure for UKOMEs (Directorates for Transportation Coordination) by transferring parts of local authority over public transport to the central government.

Country
Turkey
Sector
Transport and infrastructure
Type of Law
Capturing a market, an industry or public resources

Description of the law

This regulation amends the membership structure and appointment procedure for UKOMEs (Directorates for Transportation Coordination) by transferring parts of local authority over public transport to the central government.

Drafted jointly by the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of the Environment, the regulation aims to strip power from large cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya, where the Justice and Development Party lost local elections in March 2019, and transfer it to the central government (see here).

UKOMEs are one of the main municipal bodies in major cities, since they provide coordination between the transport service and the investment units of the metropolitan municipality and public institutions. UKOMEs oversee coordination of all kinds of transport services on land, sea, lakes, rivers, canals and railways within a city’s borders. UKOMEs also decide on the number, stops and parking zones of taxis, shared taxis and shuttle buses (see here).

Previously, UKOMEs were made up of 22 members, 11 appointed by the metropolitan municipalities, 10 appointed by public institutions and one who was a representative of the Turkish federation of commercial drivers and vehicle owners. Municipalities had a majority in decision-making. With the new amendment, however, the number of members has risen to 26, tipping the scale in favour of the central government (see here and here). Three new ministries, namely the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services and the Ministry of the Environment and Urbanisation, as well as the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency now have the authority to nominate members to UKOMEs, leaving the municipalities in a minority position.

The amendment has been criticised by the opposition as part of a series of attempts to weaken the powers of local government. For them, the purpose of such regulations is for the Justice and Development Party to maintain de facto control in municipalities where it lost power in the March 2019 elections (see here and here).