Turkish architects groups’ rights revoked

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s Parliament has voted to end the right of a union of architects and city planners to approve construction projects — a measure opposition parties say smacks of punishment for the group whose members opposed redevelopment plans for Istanbul.

The surprise measure was passed in a midnight session late Tuesday with the votes of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, which holds a majority in Parliament.

Members of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects had opposed construction plans for Istanbul’s Taksim Square, including the demolition of a park. A police crackdown on a sit-in to protect the park ignited nationwide protests in June that turned into expression of discontent with what many say is Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian style.

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