Istanbul to vote for Gezi Park if court gives green light

Istanbul to vote for Gezi Park if court gives green light

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
All electorates of Istanbul will vote on the fate of the Gezi Park at the historic Taksim Square if the court gives a green light to the government’s plans to redevelop the area, a senior ruling party official has said.

“The vote will take place not only to get the views of residents of the Beyoğlu district but of all the residents of Istanbul. Those who live within the borders of the Istanbul greater municipality will cast their votes for the park,” Hüseyin Çelik, deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) told reporters following the party’s meeting yesterday. “We will respect the decision of the people.”

Turkey has been shaken by mass demonstrators of environmental activists who occupied the Gezi Park for three weeks to protect the park from being demolished. Protests have spread throughout Turkey and almost turned into an uprising.

Calling on the people for restraint and to participate only in peaceful demonstrations that would not disturb others, Çelik informed that the cost of the three-weeks-long protests was around 140 trillion TL, without considering its impact on tourism and economy.

Hüseyin Çelik touched on reports indicating that the party program of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was rejecting full membership for Turkey. “This stance of Merkel is not new. In the past they proposed privileged partnership, now they are talking about strategic partnership. We have rejected these kinds of formulas in the past and we are still rejecting them,” he said.

Along with Germany, France was also in the same position according to Çelik, who said, “The main reason is that Turkey will be the greatest country in the EU.”

Such messages coming from the EU should not demoralize the Turkish people as the government will continue its aspiration to join the EU until the end of the negotiation process.