September 1, 2014

Municipality seeks funds to build dorms after closing Hizmet housing

The Bolu Municipality, having previously closed down dorms and schools belonging to businesspeople affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement in July, recently sent official letters to more than 200 companies and businesspeople asking for money to meet student accommodation needs.

“Due to the increasing number of students in our province, there has been a dramatic increase in the need for dorms. In order to meet this need, [the municipality] is planning to build places for students to stay in the near future. Thus, we are asking for financial support from companies and firms in Bolu. We kindly ask that you report the amount of financial support you will provide to our municipality,” Bolu Mayor Alaaddin Yılmaz wrote in the letter.

The municipality had previously come under fire for closing dorms and schools affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement.

It had also constructed a road on Aug. 10 through the courtyard of Bolu's Fatih Koleji campus, despite the fact that the school is surrounded by empty plots of land and there is no residential area near the school. Local residents, angered by the municipality's seemingly arbitrary decision to construct the road, called on the municipality to abandon the decision and to spend taxpayers' money on more appropriate projects.

In a similar case, the Bolu Municipality closed two schools on July 11 belonging to businessmen affiliated with the Hizmet movement. The municipality hung a sign in front of the closed schools claiming that the buildings had not been approved and that their construction was not in line with municipal regulations. Mayor Yılmaz said his municipality had to take action against unlicensed building operations and that the closures are not linked to any kind of government policy against Hizmet.

Published on Today's Zaman, 01 September 2014, Monday