Ankara residents want to see AnkaPark ‘green area’

Ankara residents want to see AnkaPark ‘green area’

ANKARA - Demirören News Agency
Ankara residents want to see AnkaPark ‘green area’

In the first three days of the referendum, which has been held by Ankara Metropolitan Municipality in order to decide on the fate of AnkaPark, a theme park in capital Ankara, which was closed in early 2020, nearly 60,000 people have voted, most of them have wanted it to be converted into a green area.

While around 15,000 people requested a green area, over 11,000 people wanted the park to be used as a zoo.

Some 8,425 people voted for the park, located on land bequeathed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Türkiye, to be Atatürk Forest Farm again, while 7,343 people wanted it to turn into a walking area.

“The referendum reveals that the public wants the new facility to be a free place where they can get fresh air and go with their family,” said Volkan Memduh Gültekin, the head of the municipality’s press and public relations department.

“The public will decide whether to invest millions more in vain or to build a big city park with bicycle and walking paths, and green areas,” Gültekin added.

AnkaPark, which opened its doors on March 21, 2019, and caused controversy due to its cost of $801 million, was closed due to the decrease in the number of visitors.

Four 10,000-square-meter and six 5,000-square-meter steel tents were built on a 1.3 million square meter site, while 1,217 giant toys, with dinosaurs and giant robots among them, were bought for the park.

After a two-year legal process, a court ruled to transfer control of AnkaPark to the new municipality administration run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Mansur Yavaş emerged as the winner of the March 31, 2019, local elections in Ankara, becoming the capital city’s new mayor.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) entered the election race in Ankara for the first time without its long-serving mayor Melih Gökçek, who did not take part in the contest for the first time since 1994.

After his long-term tenure in Ankara, Gökçek was forced to resign in 2017 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who had warned his party members against “metal fatigue,” calling for renewal in local governments.