The second meeting of the Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Council in March was held at the Congress and Exhibition Center under the presidency of the Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Vahap Seçer. Discussions about Mersin Port, which has been discussed extensively in the public opinion in recent days, marked the meeting. In the second session, where the majority of the Assembly members belonging to the People's Alliance did not attend, a wishing decision was made regarding Mersin Port and noted in history. Regarding the enlargement decision regarding the port, Mayor Seçer said, "These are the decisions taken by Ankara, apart from the local dynamics of the city as a result of lobbying activities" and emphasized that they are not against the port and investments. Seçer said, "We are not against investment, we are not against the port, we are not against the expansion of Mersin, we are not against foreign investors, domestic investors, but there is a law, there is a law, there is a law, it has to be done within this framework."
"The main container port storage area is deleted from the plan"
Giving information about the expansion of Mersin Port, Mayor Seçer continued as follows:
“This place was privatized in 2007. The plan, approved in 2009, envisions an extension to the existing port. You can see in the plan, there is a projection of 95 thousand 765 square meters. That area is planned as an expansion area, but has not been built by the tenant company until today. When it comes to 2017, the 1 / 100.000-scale Mersin-Adana Environmental Plan has been changed and the main container port, where Mersin has been waiting for 40 years, is also marked in this plan, in 2017. By 2020, two important events are happening. One of them is in the main container port area, the clover of the highway connection road goes all the way to the sea, to the main container port. In other words, a very appropriate, very neat plan is made that will not have anything to do with the traffic of the city. Here, the storage areas of the main container port, the free zone development area in that region, the highway connection roads and secondary roads are all determined here. However, in 2020, this area we talked about is declared as a Special Industrial Zone by the Presidency, which we discussed in the past weeks. Polypropylene is determined as the facility area. Look, the logistics area, the main container port storage area and the free zone development area, these are removed from the plan. It is marked as a Special Industrial Zone instead. "
"The expansion in the current port would be a development against Mersin"
Stating that the process started after the location of the planned container port area was marked as a Special Industrial Zone, President Seçer said, “We can say this very clearly: Currently, Mersin needs an expansion in its current port. Vessels of larger tonnage will dock here, there is a need for a cruise port. For this reason, when you look at it as urgent work, you will be looking at it from a wrong angle. This job has already been planned. I can see this very clearly. Here, the construction of the polypropylene plant and the expansion of the port and then the elimination of the dream of the main container port are interconnected. The result goes as follows: If the port is expanded here, you know that the 11th Development Plan planned to be made in Mersin as the main container port in Mersin and was changed as a main container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. These are things done step by step. You can see that the main container port planned to be built here in the upcoming period will also be a dream for us. The expansion and growth efforts in the existing port can be said to be sufficient and this would be a development against Mersin ”.
"There is no logic in forcing here"
Referring to the efforts to increase the handling capacity of the port from 2 million 600 thousand TEU to 3 million 600 thousand TEU, Seçer said, “However, Mersin is our dream, a logistics center. So bigger projections. This is the port. This port already has a 150-year history. This port has already created Mersin. This port causes Mersin to turn from being a fishing town to a provincial identity. But its capacity is limited, its capacity is limited, its location is certain. There is no logic in forcing this place, it has no logic in terms of economy, it has no logic in terms of environmental effects, it has no logic in terms of the silhouette of the city. "These are the decisions taken by Ankara, apart from the local dynamics of the city, as a result of lobbying activities."
"With the decisions taken by Ankara, the savings on the future of Mersin are not correct"
Reiterating that it was a decision taken by Ankara other than the local dynamics of the city, President Seçer said, “Saving on the future of Mersin with the decisions taken by Ankara is not the right approach. In the contract, it is stated that "the port can work in line with the provision of operating obligation in line with the technological and physical conditions of the day". It is based on this. Now while doing this, there is something like this in the contract. It says that in Article 3 of the contract, "There is a provision that the operator will make certain changes in the port provided that it obtains permission from the competent authorities." This is in the contract. An article of the contract says 'you can make certain changes here, but you need permission from the necessary institutions'. Or you need to get an appropriate opinion. Mersin Metropolitan Municipality reported a negative report on behalf of the city to this project while planning work. Council decision here. Mersin Metropolitan Municipality made a decision on September 10, 2018 that the expansion studies to be carried out here are not appropriate. However, this opinion of the local authority and local institutions was ignored, an arrangement was made ex officio by the Ministry, and some physical changes regarding the port were allowed here, ”he said.
Stating that the second important event regarding the port is the announcement of the place in question as a Special Industrial Zone in 2020, Seçer said, “However, the plan approved in March 2009 by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization was changed in the same year. In other words, the area of 2009 thousand 95 square meters in the plan in 765, which was not built in the plan and was previously determined as an expansion area, is canceled. Because the current expansion area is decided. The amount here is 178 square meters, plus 540 square meters of cruise port area is suggested. "In total, 11 thousand square meters of area will be filled."
"Works are being done there during the hours we talk about these here."
While the decision on the expansion of the port, which will be noted in history, was discussed in the Assembly, Mayor Seçer said that the efforts for the expansion of the port are continuing, and continued as follows:
“At this point, studies are being carried out there during the hours we talk about them here. Unfortunately it is done. However, we wanted to bring this issue to the agenda in order to make a note in history. Here, the views of central district mayors are very important. The views of our municipalities in the Mediterranean, Taurus, Mezitli, Yenişehir ie the center are very important. What will be the environmental complications of this construction to be made here, what will be the consequences for the development of the city, what will be the traffic, what will be the ecological balance? Thinking, based on scientific data. Of course, there is an opinion on this subject, this is extremely wrong. It did not come before us as if it fell off the roof. I explained your serencam. A work that has been going on since 2009. There have been attempts before. Previously, the expansion work was limited, the pier was extended, but in no time such a large study, the arrangement that will affect such a city, allowing it to expand into a city, in other words westward, comes before us for the first time. "
"Everyone is free to say their thoughts"
President Seçer gave a short break to the Assembly meeting due to the debates between some of the members. Addressing the members of the Assembly after the break, Seçer said, “Please, in our speeches and attitudes, let us not behave that would harm the reputation and reputation of the Assembly. Let's be more careful. Let's stay away from words that will hurt and hurt each other. I think that I give the opportunity as the President of the Assembly, who directs the Assembly, so that every member of the Assembly can convey their ideas and thoughts as much as possible. We also provide enough time. Everyone is free to say their thoughts. There is nothing wrong with that. However, as I said, I want you to stay away from the speeches and evaluations that will strain the Assembly and give a right to reply to another member of the Assembly, ”he said.
"Let MIP take the responsibility"
President Seçer, upon his criticism that a member of the Assembly should cooperate with the Highways and the Metropolitan and finish the road there, said, “Do not surprise me, for God's sake. The State Railways will build the bridge there. It will do for 2 years. I was asked to change the zoning. I did it as soon as I came to the administration. So let MIP put its hand under the stone. He earns millions of dollars well, so he can be fast, and he should make a contribution to the city. Let the State Railways do it too. You expect everything from Büyükşehir, but Büyükşehir doesn't have such budgets. It does its part to the Metropolitan. Doesn't manage to see that this traffic is congested? Am I running the traffic? Don't let it. Let the trucks pass, let them park in the harbor, ”he said. President Seçer continued his speech on the subject as follows:
“If a local company, a factory, blocks the D-400 highway in this way, they will not put a truck there, they will prohibit it. Nobody gets a voice. Sir, how do I prevent it. There is a Governorship here, there is a Police Department under the Governorship of this place, there is a Traffic Branch Directorate of the Police. He may not allow because you are endangering traffic. I'm just cleaning their backs. I clean the dirt left by the trucks. The road is broken, I am building the road. Look, I wanted an additional contribution. I said that this is the entrance to the city, it looks very bad in this way, it looks very dirty. The reason for this is the trucks that come here, the trucks that park here. Help the municipality as a business, let's do our routine cleaning. But you also contribute. The answer we got from the business; 'This is not our duty' became. But my job is not to collect the back of those who occupy the D-400 highway, the entrance to the city, the public road, the public road. I invite the officials to duty from here. Let them not let him. It's not the port, it's the entrance to the city. Those trucks will enter and park in the port. "
"I don't know where you received an instruction from, but this is an insult to the Parliament."
The majority of the Assembly members belonging to the People's Alliance left the session before the decision of their wishes was taken. Seçer, who responded to the speech of a Council member stating that there is no quorum for the meeting and his idea to transfer the agenda to the other meeting, stated that the quorum for the decision was counted and the quorum for the decision. Seçer said the following:
“Right now, our decision quorum is 20. Therefore, I can continue the meeting. So we opened the meeting. We had a sufficient number of meetings. Currently, we have a quorum of decision. I already opened the meeting. We had a sufficient number of meetings. We can continue negotiations right now. We have a sufficient number of decisions, there are too many. Therefore, of course, our friends who do not want to attend the meeting may leave or have already separated. We will continue the meeting. There is already a recommendation in this direction that we are currently discussing and voting. We have a quorum to vote on this issue, too. So I welcome you with respect, your views, but this time, you present an atmosphere as if you ruled the Assembly. In other words, the meeting is canceled whenever you want, and you leave the Assembly whenever you want. This is not a very appropriate behavior either. I do not know who took this decision, from where you took an order, but this is an insult to the Assembly. So a meeting is going on here, people are evaluating, it can be tension, it can be a discussion, everyone is expressing their views. I am giving this chance to them. But if you have some developments that do not come to your business and leave this place, you will be disrespectful to the people of Mersin and unfortunately you have done this. What happened to you leaving the Parliament? A topic is being discussed. While this debate was going on in a very civilized environment, there was tension. I also took a break from the meeting to avoid unpleasant incidents. It consists of that. I do not know who came up with this idea, who is the father of it, but you are in a wrong attitude. I am continuing the meeting. "
"We have to avoid behaviors that will harm the size of the Assembly"
President Seçer stated that everyone is in consensus on the container port investment and that the main container port should definitely be, and said, “Previously, work on this started in 2009. EIA process has been completed. Even at that time, Çandarlı and Filyos Ports were planned together with Mersin Main Container Port. Today they are in the process of completion, finished. But we are still discussing this right now. As I said, one should not look like events that are independent of each other. Because it means the main container port, the plan change of the area, which was announced for the construction of a polypropylene facility, then changed in the plan in 2020 and declared a Special Industrial Zone, which was previously a free zone development area and logistics container storage area, in fact, they are all intertwined in a sense. In addition to this, I am clearly linked to the fact that the expression of building a main container port in Mersin in the 11th Development Plan was changed to the construction of a main container port in the Eastern Mediterranean ”.
Stating that they always show a supportive approach regarding investments to be made in Mersin, Seçer said, “Of course, Mersin should develop, the economy of Mersin will revive, there will be employment and tax will come. Because there were such conversations. We do not have such an opposition. But let's not mess up when we say investment. In other words, we need to know what we are doing in terms of the environment, the city or the infrastructure and legal basis of our investment. So I say let's talk and discuss. Our friends have already said. Lastly, Mr. Afşın said. A recommendation. Currently being done. But Mr. Dinsever also made an assessment that I agree. So everything is over, let's not speak up, let's be satisfied with our fate, let our language be garbage, let's not speak anything. What about such a politics, such a politician, such an Assembly, such an understanding of democracy? Everyone will say they know. But, as I said, we have to avoid behaviors that would harm the Assembly's reputation, the nobility of the Assembly, and the size of the Assembly ”.
"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"
Stating that a cruise port was built next to the expansion area, Seçer said:
“I examined it, got information from friends. There is an example of Çeşme in Antalya. There are cruise ports. Now there is the Galata Project ongoing. Nowhere in the world is there any precedent in the world where a container port or a cruise port is next to each other with a port that accepts bulk cargo. I'll tie it up from here. Now, if you look at the map, the border is Atatürk Park. But the filling area moves towards the sea, covering the front facade of Atatürk Park. Yes, there is no rape on land. There is no rape about Atatürk Park. But look here, I claim, it goes to the minutes, history will write this. If this happens, if there is a cruise port here, again, after a very short time, the allocation of this place is in cotton thread. We received 2 years of pre-allocation for Atatürk Park. We do the maintenance, everything, we do the expenses, when we came to the administration, the allocation was not given, more precisely, the period was not extended. You know the waves caused havoc. Citizen knows everything from us. However, I am not authorized, I could not even hammer a nail in there. With my personal efforts, I received a 2-year pre-allocation, we went to the Minister. Friends also stepped in, and friends from the People's Alliance also helped. We provided the construction of those places. I claim, after a short date, the cruise port, that is, "What if the tourist will enter Mersin from among the passenger containers, this is not stylish", and a place will be allocated to the port from Atatürk Park. As a note, I want to go down in history. I just said; "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
"MIP and State Railways intervened in this case in favor of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization"
Reminding that Mersin Metropolitan Municipality objected to the plan change made by the Ministry of Environment and that the objection was not accepted, Seçer said, “As such, our appeal to the Mersin 22nd Administrative Court on 2020 June 2 was rejected. We have filed a lawsuit for the rejection of the objection and the cancellation of the relevant transaction, that is, the transaction made in the plan. Here, the Bar Association, environmental associations, chambers affiliated to TMMOB, civil society, professional chambers are involved in our favor. They are now involved. However, we are bringing the case to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, they also intervened in this case in favor of the MIP and State Railways, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. The discovery was made on February 1, 2021. The expert examination is currently underway, ”he said.
"Hopefully some of our politicians see themselves as authorized on behalf of everyone"
Stating that he shared his views on the port, Mayor Seçer said, “I do not need to answer what my friends say about the expansion work here. Because we shared our views with you here. However, depending on him, Mr. Gültak asked me a question based on this statement. Now he is not here, I will not talk very comfortably as he is not here either. He needs to be here so I can speak against his face. In absentia, but here is the Assembly, it means that 'if he had sat down, he would have listened to it'. Some politicians take charge of the situation, they put themselves in the place of the administration. In other words, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization; The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization responds. Governorship; The governorship answers. Safety; Safety responds. Municipality; the municipality responds. TOKI, TOKI chases the back of the investments. Now, hopefully some of our politicians consider themselves authorized on behalf of everyone. They confuse political power with statesmanship, state bureaucracy. They are bureaucracy, state bureaucracy. It does not fall to political power to defend them. If there is a mistake, whoever it is, I am a political identity, I will respond politically. But a criticism of an institution or a decision-making mechanism in an institution can be answered by a different method with an official letter, ”he said.
"The port of this city belongs to this city, regardless of the manager"
Seçer stated that they are not against the investment and the investor and that they consider the city's salvation, adding that it is necessary to cooperate with Mersin Metropolitan Municipality on the port. Seçer said the following:
“Friends, the port of this city is in this city, no matter who runs it. It doesn't concern us, I know, from the Far East, Near East, Europe, America… It doesn't think of me, it thinks about dollars. When they look at the city, they see it as a dollar. I am saying that this understanding is wrong. If you are making money from here, consider leaving something in the city. Be with the city, be in touch with the city. Let this be in essence, not in words. Don't hurt my city. Cooperate with me. You cannot ignore me, you cannot dislike me, you cannot finish your work in Ankara just because there are people higher than you. You have to cooperate with me. I want the peace of this city, I want its order. Let me help you. I am not saying that we are against capital and investment. Now people, one of my friend just said; Let's not turn it in other directions with the look of the acrobat tactic. Nobody is against investment here. We are not against investment, we are not against the port, we are not against the expansion of Mersin, we are not against foreign investors, domestic investors, but there is a law, there is a law, there is a law, it has to be done within this framework. Let me emphasize this in particular. "
After the speeches, the decision of wishes regarding the works and transactions to increase the capacity and functionality of Mersin Port was accepted by the majority of votes.