POLITICS > Turkish PM Erdoğan retires mall project, vows mosque in Taksim

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

PM Erdoğan says the controversial military barracks to be built in Taksim will not be used as a shopping mall, while promising to build a a mosque in the iconic square

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped back from building a shopping mall in the Artillery Barracks project to replace Taksim Gezi Park, while also announcing that a mosque will be built on Taksim Square.

“You cannot make an AVM [shopping mall] familiar to the international ones in this area. There is no conclusive AVM project here. Maybe we will make a city museum there or an architectural work that will put different activities in place. Is there any certain document? No,” said Erdoğan on June 2 in Istanbul as he attended the Rumeli Turks Association’s general assembly.

Erdoğan also said the much debated Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM), also on Taksim Square, should be demolished, proposing to build an opera house and a mosque there instead.

“A mosque will be built in Taksim,” said Erdoğan adding that he did not have to receive permission from the main opposition leader or a “few marauders” for the projects. He said that the authority had already been given by people who voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdoğan remains defiant against Taksim Gezi Park protests

Erdoğan has remained defiant against the demonstrations taking place in Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park for the past six days.

“Is your issue about planting trees? It is not tree cutting going on there. It is the stubbing 12 trees as part of the pedestrianization project of Taksim,” said Erdoğan, citing the projects of his government that had planted trees across the country.

He also accused the protesters of causing damage to property. “They are burning, damaging the shops. Is this democracy?” asked Erdoğan. He also criticized those who called him a “dictator” for the excessive use of force against the protesters in Taksim.

“[They say] Tayyip Erdoğan is dictator. If they call one who serves the people a dictator, I cannot not say anything,” he added. Erdoğan also reiterated that building a shopping mall in the Taksim Gezi was not a conclusive decision.

The police forces started to withdraw from Taksim on June 1, where a brutal crackdown targeting demonstrators protesting the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park had been ongoing for over a day. Clashes broke out in Istanbul's symbolic İstiklal Avenue, the Beşiktaş and Harbiye districts.

Protesters entered Taksim Square and even took over Gezi Park, which had been cordoned off by the police after a very violent dawn raid on demonstrators on May 31. The raid had triggered some of the largest clashes between police and peaceful protesters in Turkey in recent years after activists occupied Gezi Park on May 28.


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alkan alkan

11/15/2013 6:55:06 PM

Recep, build the biggest mosque in Turkey in Taksim Sq. so that the future generations will call it Recebiyya Mosque. Now that you are at it build another mosque in the grounds of Atatürk's Mausoleum in Ankara but it should be bigger than the mausoleum itself just to show who is the real boss..!

sam stevens

6/21/2013 9:07:23 AM

I think a few women's refuges would be a better idea.

nyob nyobb

6/12/2013 5:13:48 AM

Another empty mosque?

Murun Buchstansangur

6/4/2013 1:36:44 PM

99% + 20% = 100% !!! Perhaps fewer mosques and more schools ???


6/4/2013 12:06:25 PM

Firstly, being elected does not mean a mandate for a personal projects, it means a mandate to serve ALL the people. Secondly, why should the trees have been moved? Pavements in Turkey have trees in the middle of them, revealing this as a pathetic excuse. Thirdly, "Is there any certain document?". Of course not, then there would be proof, pre-warning and knowledge about who would profit. But then he should remember he spoke of a shopping centre there some months ago, although his memory is bad.


6/3/2013 10:46:50 PM

Great, now we have Turkish Taliban joining the fray. Masks are off it seems.

Indy Eleven

6/3/2013 10:11:21 PM

This announcement makes it look like the PM, for his own personal need and self-esteem, is manipulating his party constituents' emotional core to firm up support to "win" on an issue that at the outset at least did not seem to require a PM's level of attention and authority.


6/3/2013 8:10:06 PM

Nice more Mosques, listen to the public that wants Aya Sofya to be opened as a Mosque again, otherwise the Muslims will take to the streets. Which is 99% of the population, other than the 20% you are dealing with now.

Brit in Turkey

6/3/2013 8:07:57 PM

In Malta there are 365 churches (I'm not sure what happens in leap-years). Perhaps that is the target for mosques in Istanbul.

Aslam Benli

6/3/2013 6:30:41 PM

I miss the times when Turkiye used to be a modern and secular country, thanks to our beloved Ataturk. Our Sultan Erdoğan is making sure that he and the AKP reverse the country towards a country that resembles more like Iran.
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