Turkey’s top religious body to build a facility in national park in Ankara
Meltem Özgenç - ANKARA
The head of Turkey’s top religious body, the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), will build an education center in Soğuk Su National Park in Ankara.
The center will be built on an area of 10,758 square meters. The eight-story center will include a conference hall, which can host at least 250 people, a restaurant, a pool, 10 suit rooms, parking garages and shelters.
Soğuk Su National Park in the Kızılcahamam district of Ankara has been under protection since 1959.
Ankara’s Kızılcahamam Municipality has announced the design for the facility has been completed.
Following the announcement, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Murat Emir asked a parliamentary question about the issue.
Emir drew attention to the issue of lack of enough space in the area where the facility was to be built, asking whether any trees would be cut to create space. He also stated the design for the facility was too luxurious.
“The fact that the Directorate of Religious Affairs has a luxury-style hotel in a national park will bring about criticism towards luxury, which is against our religion [Islam]. Since the Directorate of Religious Affairs must advocate moderation, the existence of this establishment goes against its values,” Emir said.
Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DKMP) general manager Nurettin Taş said they had not yet examined the project.
“The place for the potential educational facility is property of the Kızılcahamam Municipality. However, because it is within the borders of the national park, they had asked us for permission. The project has not yet arrived to us and permission has not yet been given. I do not think woodcutting will be on the agenda. If such a thing is to occur for the project, you know Mr. Minister is very sensitive on this matter. The installation would never be allowed to be done,” Taş said.