Istanbul to get 8 million square meters forest park

Istanbul to get 8 million square meters forest park

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul to get 8 million square meters forest park

Beykoz Mayor Yücel Çelikbilek says his municipality is trying to reduce unemployment with moves to turn the district’s forests over to tourism. AA photo

Around 8 million square meters of forested area in Istanbul’s Beykoz district will be made into a park with a concept that represents the seven regions and 81 provinces, according to the Beykoz Municipality.

A giant park will be built on each side of Istanbul, according to the Forestry Ministry’s project and one will be located in Beykoz district, Beykoz Mayor Yücel Çelikbilek told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
One of these parks will be located in Beykoz, near Elmalı Dam and bordered by the Çavuşbaşı and Yenimahalle neighborhoods, said Çelikbilek, adding that he lacked information about the other park’s location.

This park will have a concept that represents the seven regions and 81 provinces of Turkey.

The park will be open for daily use, and no residential buildings will be included. The park project, done on the instructions of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will bring vitality to the district as well as create employment for the locals, said Çelikbilek.

The project is expected to be completed within two years and will include restaurants and cafes, exhibition areas, prayer rooms, greenery and fountains.

No tree cutting

Mayor said the park in the forest would not lead to the cutting of trees, claiming that there were few trees and they were far apart.

However, this is not the only forest park project of Beykoz, as the municipality is planning to build another park on a 230,000-square-meter area of forest located in Karlıtepe, which overlooks the Bosphorus. Karlıtepe Park will be connected to the Bosphorus by a cable car between the Karlıtepe and Sultaniye neighborhoods.

The Beykoz mayor said the main problem in the district has been unemployment since the mid-1990s, when the three factories in the area – tobacco, glass and leather – were closed down.

“We are trying to decrease the unemployment with tourism, local trade and the health sector. We are producing several projects. One is Canal Riva, which will open the two sides of the stream as touristic places, and the restoration of the Riva Stream,” he said.

A Dutch firm is planning how to improve the 15-kilometer-long stream and create a touristic area near it. After the project is ready, the State Waterworks Authority (DSİ) will complete the project, which is expected to be completed in more than three years. Both sides of Riva Stream will be open to hotels and motels as part of the project, Çelikbilek said.

The municipality will also own a film studio that will be built in Kılıçlı village’s 260,000-square-meter area for 30 years.

The Beykoz Municipality will also give land titles for around 13 million square meters of land, which had been previously classified as forests but used as houses or gardens by locals for a long time, known widely as 2B land.

“If the zoning lots of the locals are in line with the law, we will grant their land titles. Otherwise, we will transform these lands and then they will have permission to build on them.” He also said the current value of these lands was high when the socioeconomic status of locals was taken into consideration and added that these values would decrease soon.

Speaking about the third bridge, which will have its Anatolian side abutment in Beykoz district, the mayor said the bridge would not affect life in the district. “The first access road to the third bridge will be located near Şile; it will be far from Beykoz, so we do not expect any changes to our lives,” he added.