CHP asks Istanbul mayor: Why didn’t you vote for 200 malls instead of Gezi Park plans?
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
The Istanbul Municipality included the reconstruction of the historic Artillery Barracks facility at Gezi Park in its 2015-19 municipal agenda. DHA PhotoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Secretary General Gürsel Tekin has criticized the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s decision to possibly hold a referendum for construction plans in Gezi Park, asking, “Why didn’t you hold referendums before the construction of the 200 shopping malls in the city?”
Tekin’s statement came a day after the municipality made a statement about the future of the park in heart of the city, which was at the center of anti-government protests last summer, saying a referendum will be held on the fate of a controversial construction project on the park, even if a local court grants permission to the project.
“[Istanbul Mayor Kadir] Topbaş made a statement saying they will wait for the court’s decision. Hundreds of court rulings have been violated up to now. You know about all of these. [Topbaş] said, ‘We will hold a referendum.’ Mr. Topbaş, have you held a referendum for the construction of the 200 shopping malls in Istanbul?” Tekin said in a press meeting held in Gezi Park on Nov. 20.
The municipality’s statement hit headlines on Nov. 19, after the construction project was included in the 2015-19 municipal agenda. “The Taksim Artillery Barracks project will be cancelled if the court decides that it cannot be built. If the court says it can be built, the project will be reevaluated and a referendum will take place if the [municipality] plans to continue it,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu also voiced strong criticism of the municipality’s recent statements on the future of Gezi Park.
“Many citizens were wounded and several of them were killed in defense of Gezi Park. [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan lost. We will not allow construction in this park,” said Tanrıkulu.