Plan of new ‘Atatürk Airport National Park’ unveiled
Fatma Aksu – ISTANBUL
A runway of Atatürk Airport, which was replaced by the new Istanbul Airport, will be kept open after its transformation into one of the world’s largest parks, the Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has said.
According to a plan announced recently by the Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum, Atatürk Airport will be turned into the largest of the nation’s parks in Turkey.
However, with the start of the destruction of the runways at the airport, the massive green space plan turned into a political dispute by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
As a reply to criticisms, Ersoy, on May 17, highlighted that a runway at the airport will be kept open “for emergency use.”
According to a plan unveiled on May 18, 30 percent of Atatürk Airport, sitting on 8.5 million square meters of land, will be used for general aviation and 9 percent for military flights. The runway on the Florya neighborhood side will be kept open, and the name “Atatürk Airport” will be used again in global aviation schedules.
The rest, 5.2 million square meters, will be an “Atatürk Airport National Park,” with around 132,500 trees planted over the land.
The hospital, which opened amid the pandemic, in the area will remain intact within the new plan.
Some 2.1 million square meters of land will be reserved for “living space,” such as parks, children’s parks, skating tracks, activity regions, restaurants and cafes.
A museum and a youth center will be built on 1.1 million square meters of land, in which an aviation center, cinema complexes, sports and exhibition halls will also be constructed.
Open football pitches, tennis courts and archery fields will be created on some 393,000 square meters of land.
The current international flight area will be host to expos and fairs, as there is a metro connection, and various accommodation facilities will be built on some 230,000 square meters of land.
Elderly people were also considered while planning the national park. There will be an elderly care center on 180,000 square meters of area.
The “Atatürk Airport National Park” will also have access to the Marmara Sea with an 885-meter-long pier to be built.
Kurum highlighted that more than 1 million people will visit the new national park once it opens.
While giving the example of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, which was closed in 2008, Kurum said, “Germany decided to turn it into a living space, and Germans now visit there for picnics and sports.”
Kurum underlined that the new national park will be the “lungs of Istanbul.”