New mosque project on the way for Büyükada

New mosque project on the way for Büyükada

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
New mosque project on the way for Büyükada

A group of people hold banners protesting a regulation that opens Yassıada to constructions in this file photo.

New construction plans including a mosque on Büyükada and the transfer of land belonging to the historical Heybeliada sanatorium to the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) are in store for Istanbul’s Prince Islands. 

Mustafa Farsakoğlu, the mayor of the Prince Islands, told the Hürriyet Daily News that the mosque construction project was first brought up by Istanbul’s Mayor Kadir Topbaş in 2009.

“The reason for the [construction] was put forth as the large number of Arab tourists who visit the islands. I said that the islands had enough religious buildings which were sufficient enough to cover the need. The place the mosque where is planned to be built is the center of the island,” said Farsakoğlu, adding that the Heybeliada Sanatorium, which was closed in 2005, should be turned into a hospital, rather than being transferred to TOKİ and opened for zoning.

Prof. Dr. Haluk Eyidoğan, a deputy for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Istanbul and also a member of the parliament’s Public Works-Zoning-Transportation and Tourism Commission, told the Daily News that the problem was the government’s point of view and not the construction of a mosque.

“We should not take the issue solely as a mosque project. For example, they say that they are opening Yassıada and Sivriada for zoning. It is aimed at making this legal by putting an additional clause to the 3999 numbered legislative package on April 18. They say that they are going to open both of the islands for tourism but these places are already natural tourism spaces,” he said.

Eyidoğan said that despite being in a city with a population of 15 million and holding 40 percent of the gross national product, the Prince Islands, which are a part of Istanbul, did not have any hospitals. He said the health services on the Prince Islands were worse than the situation in the eastern provinces of Turkey. “If something is to be done with the sanatorium, it should absolutely be used as a hospital,” Eyidoğan said.

‘Murder’ warning 

Eyidoğan said the islands had a multi-religious and multi-lingual structure and carrying out constructions on the islands would be a “murder.”

Stating that the government ignored regional administrations, civil society organizations and the city councils, Eyidoğan said the problem was not only with the Prince Islands.

“Not just the Prince Islands’ topic but also the construction of the artillery barracks project on the Gezi Park, the third bridge, the new airport project… When we look at the regulations made for the projects, the government ignores all the laws,” he said.

“We have seen the projects, we do not need crazy projects but clever projects for Istanbul,” Farsakoğlu said, referring to the “crazy projects” for Istanbul that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had made public.