Saturday, 8 June 2013

Mayor of Istanbul: No Intention to Build A Mall

The mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş commented on the demonstration in Taksim/Gezi Park. 
He said: "The project supposed to transform the Taksim Square into a pedestrian zone was confirmed unanimously. It is said that people came to Taksim because they thought trees were being cut down. We have been discussing with people from Bogazici University, artists, businessmen and opninon leaders. The demonstrations should not have resulted in where they are now. I would wish that the perception in the world would be a different one.
We do not intent to build a mall. The size of the area is not adequate for that. Gezi Park compises of an area of approximately 50 thousand square meters and there are 563 trees, 72 of which can be transported since their diameter is less than 40 centimeters. 26 other trees can also be carried, but it is risky. Once more, we do not intent to build a mall. Nor is a hotel/residence planned.
Yesterday I met a group of architects. They told me that we have to assess Gezi Park as a whole. Still we can build the historical military barracks. However, maybe it would be better to build them between Gezi Park and Dolmabahce.
I myself, as an architect, considered this. We have some projects regarding those districts. I want to emphasize particularly that no mall was planned, we were just talking about a couple of shops. Istanbul is fed up with malls. One has to assess projects as a whole. There is a bridge behind the Divan Hotel. We want to create an area where people can walk to Macka by renovating that bridge. We can increase the number of trees. We can green those pedestrian zones.
There will be no mall, hotel or residence. Although we had provided a project of building a city museum there long before the transformation of Taksim to a pedestrian zone, we saw that people are not interested in this. I am planning to present and exhibit the project in Taksim and open it for discussion. Our prime minister has stated that he wants the military barracks to be built. But he also declared the construction of a mall, shops, hotel and residences. We want to build a museum.

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