Ankara Mayor Gökçek vows to build the Turkish capital’s own ‘Bosphorus’
Melih Gökçek will reach a quarter of a century as Ankara mayor if elected next month. AA photoAnkara Mayor Melih Gökçek has unveiled a number of brand new projects for his re-election campaign, vowing to build a waterline similar to Istanbul’s majestic Bosphorus to transform the Turkish capital’s famously arid landscape.
“We have a surprise for you: The Ankara Strait project. It is impossible to bring the sea to Ankara, but Ankara will have a strait too. [We will build] a gigantic 11 kilometer-long canal at the İmrahor Valley in Ankara’s south, surrounded with villas and recreation sites,” Gökçek said during the official presentation of his program for his next term.
“This [project] will make an incredible contribution to Ankara’s image. We aim to complete this investment within five years,” the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) candidate assured.
If elected in the March 30 local elections, Gökçek will reach a quarter of a century as the city’s mayor.
Rollercoasters and warring transformers
Even more striking than the Ankara Strait, Gökçek said his biggest project would be the construction of both Turkey and Europe’s largest theme park: AnkaPark. He also added that the number of attractions in the park, 1,217, would set a world record.
“At this point there are 14 rollercoasters [in the project]. Warring transformers, digital game areas, 360 degree movie theaters, monorails will be musts for the park,” the Ankara mayor claimed.
He also said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would make the gift of connecting the remote Esenboğa Airport to the center of the town with a fresh metro line. “We aim to finish the 30-kilometer long project within five years,” Gökçek said.
Along with a brand new mosque, cultural center, and fair area, Gökçek also vowed the construction of a “Belief and History Museum.” The museum will include historic and religious material and aims to attract 3 million visitors per year, he said.
The Ankara mayor has often found himself under fire for failing to complete new metro lines since he took the city’s helm 21 years ago. The Sincan metro line, which was originally planned to be completed within five years, is set to be opened shortly, 12 years after its construction first started.
Gökçek also drew international attention recently for his Twitter campaigns and “hashtag wars” against the coverage of the Gezi protests by international media outlets such as the CNN and the BBC.