PR 04/16 | Solidarity with Chamber of Architects of Turkey (CAT)

The Kamra tal-Periti is gravely concerned to hear of the recent events in Turkey wherein 15 members of the Chamber of Architects of Turkey (CAT) were held under arrest in an incident which appears to have been instigated by the Chamber’s criticism of the Turkish government’s urban policies. The Kamra tal-Periti strongly condemns any form of threat to freedom of expression, particularly towards a professional Chamber whose role is to ensure quality of the built environment for the better good of society.

The Kamra tal-Periti endorses the statement published by the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE), of which it is a member, and expresses full solidarity with its colleagues in Turkey.

ACE Statement

The Architects’ Council of Europe expresses grave concerns following the arrests at the Istanbul Chamber of Architects

On Tuesday 31 May, police arrested 15 people in the building of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects, including the President of the Chamber of Architects of Turkey (CAT) and Board Members and employees of the CAT Istanbul Branch. The Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) expresses grave concerns at this event.

Local media reported that, on Tuesday 31 May, CAT executives were detained for having resisted  the eviction of the office of the CAT Istanbul Branch, located in Yıldız Palace. The eviction resulted in the detainment of 15 people, including CAT President Eyup Muhcu and Mücella Yapici, Secretary of the CAT Environmental and Social Impact Committee, both prominent figures in the Gezi movement, as well as several Members of the Executive Board and employees of the CAT Istanbul Branch.

While reluctant to comment on domestic affairs, ACE is deeply concerned at what appears to be an overreaction to what began as a peaceful opposition to government’s urban policies. Architects’ chambers play an important role in the defense of heritage and quality in the public interest and as such we feel that professional solidarity is an essential expression of this role.

This unprecedented act of intimidation against the architectural profession in Turkey is surely disproportionate and certainly unacceptable in a country that aspires to join the European Union”, said Luciano Lazzari, ACE President.