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The Ministry of Environment and City Planning have revised the standards regulating building constructions. The new regulation that was published in the Official Gazette of the Turkish Republic on September 8 has illegalised the construction of studio (1+0) flats. Amongst other things, the regulation states minimum requirements with regards the dimensions of individual rooms to be built within flats. As such, building contractors are now forced to build separate spaces for bedrooms and living rooms.

In July, Istanbul’s Pendik municipality had banned the construction of 1+1 flats for “not appealing to families and damaging neighbourly relations”. Whilst these regulations might seem innocent at first glance, they are yet another way in which the AKP insist on societal engineering and encroach on specific lifestyles.

This legislation has followed on the heels of governmental criticisms against ‘bachelor lifestyles’ and complaints that small flats are against the fabric of family values. The government’s increasing interference in citizens’s lifestyles was a central trigger for the Gezi Protests and exemplified by the abortion debate and the new law restricting the sale of alcohol. The regulation of living spaces is yet another locus which highlights the conservative AKP’s disregard for cultural difference.