Today, factors such as urbanization, city crowd, noise, stress, etc. have increased people’s longing for nature and led them to find quiet areas away from the city. Hobby Gardens, which are based in England, have also been established in our country in order to provide people an option to escape and an engagement. Although the first Hobby Gardens were established in Bursa, their number has increased in our country over time. Hobby gardens have been created with the aim of growing vegetables and fruits on the rented land that the municipalities divide into parts by preparing the infrastructure.
While the target was to encourage people to take care of the land, in practice, an unintended use started to occur through cooperatives. As a result of splitting the agricultural land into parts and renting it by private law legal entities and constructing buildings on the rented sections, the areas for cultivation have narrowed. According to the legislation, while it is not thinkable to build premises on agricultural lands, in the current practice, the legislation was deceived by the name of Hobby Garden and agricultural lands were zoned for construction and these lands are no longer farmlands. The amendment to the law for protecting agricultural lands and preventing the division under the name of hobby garden was accepted by the General Assembly of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
In accordance with Article 25 of the LAW ON SOME REGULATIONS IN THE FIELD OF FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND FOREST, accepted on October 28, 2020; Article 21 of Law No. 5403 has taken the title “Penalties and obligations regarding the misuse of agricultural lands and non-compliance with soil conservation projects” and amendments have been made in its content.
According to the stipulated provision, it is obligatory to obtain permits for agricultural and non-agricultural land uses and to comply with soil conservation projects. Some sanctions have been determined if the permission is not obtained, not used in accordance with the obtained permission or not complied with the prepared soil conservation projects. When it is determined that unauthorized work is started for land use or it is not used in accordance with the permission obtained, the work will be completely stopped by the governorship; the use of the completed work will not be allowed. An administrative fine of 10,00.-TL will be imposed for each square meter of the area used or damaged to the landowner or the person spoiling the land, which shall not be less than 1.000,00.-TL; this penalty will be applied twice in savannah protected areas.
If the necessary permissions are obtained within one month from the notification of the administrative fine, the work may be allowed to be completed and the completed work to be used. Those who do not apply or whose permission requests are rejected will be given two months to demolish all their unauthorized structures and make the land suitable for agricultural production. If it is determined ex officio by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that the land has not been made suitable within the given period, the administrative fine will be applied as three folds. In this case, the unauthorized structures will be demolished by municipalities or special provincial administrations with the costs paid by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and lands will be made suitable for agricultural production.
Those who transfer the possession of the agricultural lands by forming de facto shares that cannot be registered, by establishing a membership or partnership relationship with this legal entity within the scope of the activity of a private law legal person, especially cooperatives, or those who cause the disruption of the integrity of the land and the use of the land will be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 1 year to 3 years and a judicial fine from 100 days to 1000 days. In addition, administrative fines from 50,000,00.-TL to 250,000,00.-TL will be imposed on this legal person.
In case the integrity of the agricultural land is ensured, and it is made suitable for agricultural production, a public lawsuit will not be filed, the public lawsuit will be dropped, and the punishment convicted will be eliminated with all its consequences.
According to the “PROVISIONAL ARTICLE 7” added to the Law No. 5403, it is regulated that for five years from the effective date of this article, half of the prescribed administrative fines will be applied to those who act contrary to the above points, if the violation is rooted from a building having agricultural aim.
Law No 7255 on Some Regulations in the Field of Food, Agriculture and Forest was published in the Official Gazette No. 31294 and dated October 4, 2020 and entered into force.
The full text of the Law can be accessed here.
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Işınsu AKDURUCAK (Apprentice Attorney)
Uçar Law & Consultancy Office