Istanbul mayor denies mosque plan on demolished Galatasaray islet in Istanbul’s Bosphorus
ISTANBULIstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş has denied any plans to construct a mosque on Galatasaray islet in Istanbul’s Bosphorus after some of the buildings on the piece of land were demolished late in May in remarks that came after the proposal of an independent municipal council member.
Hüseyin Avni Sipahi, a council member for Beşiktaş Municipality, took the floor off-topic during a June meeting of the Istanbul municipal council and proposed that a mosque be built on the now-demolished islet.
“Let’s build a sanctuary to the Bosphorus, the pearl of Istanbul and the eye of the world,” Sipahi said, giving the Crystal Mosque in Malaysia and the Floating Mosque in Saudi Arabia as examples for the structure.
“Right now, there is a mosque being built on Çamlıca, the highest peak of the city, that will turn it into a symbol, but we do not have any symbolic building other than the Maiden Tower in the middle of the Bosphorus,” he said.
“The time has come to build a national building on the Bosphorus. Let’s first build a mosque on Suada and then improve an area of interest in which our children, youth and seniors will devote their time to education, social activities and cultural spaces in that mosque,” Sipahi added.
Following his remarks, Topbaş stated that the municipality did not have any plans to build a mosque on the islet.
The islet, which was bought by Galatasaray Sports Club in 1957 before being turned into a site with a number of social facilities in 1980, has iconic importance for Galatasaray fans.
However, it was demolished on May 28 after Mehmet Koçarslan, who has been a tenant on the islet for many years, denied an evacuation order made by the Galatasaray General Assembly on the grounds that the buildings were not suitable for housing.