Trees that a whole country is fighting to preserve planted 70 years ago
Luxurious high-story hotels now occupy the side of the park instead of gardens and manors, leaving the park an oasis in the middle of one the city’s most important transportation nodes.The trees that a whole country is fighting to preserve at Gezi Park in Istanbul’s central Taksim neighborhood were planted in 1943, as seen in a picture shared by private broadcaster CNNTürk’s chief editor, Ferhat Boratav, on his blog.
Luxurious high-story hotels now occupy the side of the park instead of gardens and manors, leaving the park an oasis in the middle of one the city’s most important transportation nodes.
Only the military museum could be seen at the time in the panorama behind the park. Now the little green lung struggles to survive against the expansion of the town’s leisure area. The government is currently planning to build a leisure complex based on the reproduction of the old Ottoman Artillery barracks that used to stand at the site.
The project blessed by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sparked a livid reaction as the majority of locals have steadfastly opposed the destruction of one of the last green lungs of the city for the construction of more shopping and entertainment areas. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s attempt to uproot the trees in the park without warning sparked anger that was further met with a brutal crackdown by police, who used tear gas and water cannon on peaceful protesters trying to preserve the park.
The space between Gazi Park and Harbiye, with a view over the Bosphorus, was filled afterwards with the construction of a sport and exposition center in 1949, which was used for many decades for basketball and other court sports, an open-air theater in 1947 and the Hilton Hotel in 1955. Many buildings were also built and the park remained one of the last pieces of green standing on Taksim hill.