CHP stages zoning protest on Yassıada

CHP stages zoning protest on Yassıada

Fatma Aksu – ISTANBUL
CHP stages zoning protest on Yassıada

DHA photo

A group of 220 people, including main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and ecological NGOs, staged a protest on Istanbul’s Yassıada island at building developments on the piece of land in the Marmara Sea.

The group, which also included members of the Environment and Nature Protection Commission, was initially blocked by a maritime police boat on June 4 as Istanbul’s Adalar district police head said only a limited number of people could disembark on the island and that entrance to the construction site would not be allowed for safety reasons.

As part of the “Yassıada Freedom and Democracy Island” project, authorities are building facilities aimed at commemorating Turkish politicians who were exiled to the island before their execution following the 1960 military coup.

But CHP group deputy chairman Engin Altay and CHP province head Cemal Canpolat objected to the warnings, stating “nobody can restrict our freedom of travel.”

A group disembarked on the island without facing any intervention from security forces and marched to the sports hall in which then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was tried along with other politicians of the time before being sentenced to death.

After staging a protest on the island against the construction of a hotel, museum and conference hall as part of the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s project, the group left the site. 

The project on the island began in May 2015 and is expected to be finished by Sept. 10. 

Government officials hope to turn the island into a center of attention for cultural and historical tourism in connection to the politicians who were overthrown in the 1960 military coup.

Turkish politics was indelibly marked by the executions of Menderes, then-Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and then-Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan after they were tried on the island.