Court suspends planned Artillery Barracks project to replace Gezi Park
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
The Artillery Barracks project stirred huge debate among Istanbul locals, who objected to the conversion of one of the last green areas at the heart of the city into another shopping center. DAILY NEWS photo, EMRAH GÜRELDespite their peaceful movement being subject to brutal dawn raids by the police forces, Taksim Gezi Park protesters received good news from an administrative court May 31 which ruled for the suspension of the Artillery Barracks project planned to be built on the site of Istanbul’s most central park.
The historic barracks (“Topçu Kışlası”) was one of the flagship projects of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for Istanbul. Erdoğan had announced a few months ago that the reproduction of the historic building would be converted into a shopping mall and could also serve as a residence with social facilities.
However the plans stirred huge debate among the Istanbul locals, who objected to the conversion of one of the last green areas at the heart of the city into yet another shopping center.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş has denied that the demolition work initiated on May 28 was related to the barracks project. Topbaş claimed that the construction work was in fact, “Simply the mandatory removal and transfer of trees in the area in order to enlarge the pedestrian walk.”
However, Erdoğan had expressed determination to move ahead with the Artillery Barracks project. “Do whatever you want to do, but we’ve made our decision,” Erdoğan said May 29, addressing the protesters.