Dispute over mosque plan may soon end

Dispute over mosque plan may soon end

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Plans to build a mosque on Istanbul’s Anatolian side have caused a stir among Kadıköy locals as Istanbul’s mayor has said they would seek a compromise.

Plans have been resumed Nov. 23 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Assembly for a mosque project for the Göztepe neighborhood of Kadıköy in Istanbul, which was cancelled by court decision seven years ago.

The municipality’s decision was met with an immediate and fierce reaction as the Kadıköy Municipality announced they would “resist” the decision because the project would “destroy a public park with trees in it.”

However, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said another area offered by the Kadıköy Municipality could be determined as the new area for the mosque.

“The Council of State’s verdict said a mosque in the area was a necessity and the foremost priority was to satisfy this need,” Topbaş said in a written statement Nov. 23. The mayor’s agreeable words were welcomed and if the Metropolitan Municipality abides by their promise the new mosque project could be approved with a consensus, Kadıköy Mayor Selami Öztürk said in a phone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News. “We did not argue against the mosque itself, we argued the project’s place, and the real issue was the devastation of green land. A project that we offered three months ago could be applied without removing one single tree,” Öztürk added.

A religious facility is set to be built on 2,500 square meters of land that now belongs to the Parks and Gardens Directorate and is currently used as a depot, according to AKP’s Istanbul Municipality Assembly deputy group chair Ergün Turan.