Istanbul Mayor slams opposition on Kadıköy objections

Istanbul Mayor slams opposition on Kadıköy objections

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Istanbul Mayor slams opposition on Kadıköy objections

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş. DHA Photo

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is hampering with positive developments without “producing something new,” Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said today, referring to the controversy over a recent development project in the Istanbul district of Kadıköy.

When asked about Kadıköy Mayor Selami Öztürk’s decision to take the Kadıköy project to court, Topbaş said similar attempts from the CHP had often been a “waste of time” in the past.

“Instead of producing something new, they hamper things and take them to court. We end up overcoming these obstacles one by one, so it ends up being a waste of time,” Topbaş said, during a joint press conference with U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.

The municipal commission recently rejected over 5,000 signatures submitted by Kadıköy residents in objection to a planned project, which included transforming the historic Haydarpaşa Station into a hotel and removing an Atatürk monument from the area. Mayor Öztürk told members of the press that he would be taking the issue to court.

“If the objections are sincere, things may have come up,” Topbaş said, “But if you do it just to hamper things then it won’t be taken seriously. This is a project that has been going on for years, with serious, scholarly studies conducted about it.”

Topbaş said it was “the CHP’s style” to simply carry things to court. “We live in a democratic country, the road to the judicial processes is open. But to take things to court, and then to the Constitutional Court, is characteristic of the CHP.”

If the case is picked up by the courts, the decision would be left entirely up to the judicial authorities, he added.

The project, which aims to make major changes to the Kadıköy landscape, stirred a huge backlash when it was announced, with groups organizing in strong opposition to the transformation of one of Istanbul’s most popular sights, Haydarpaşa Station. The controversial project also includes the removal of an Atatürk monument, often used for placing wreaths and flowers on ceremonial days, in one of Kadıköy’s squares.

The monument would be replaced by a 4,729-square-meter fair ground, to be used for events and festivals in the area.