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Central Park

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said a planned park to be built in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul should be a “city park,” in response to earlier remarks about the plan referring to the park as the city’s “Central Park.”

“Why Central Park? Central Park does not suit Istanbul. A city park suits Istanbul. You don’t have to imitate someone. Let them imitate us,” said Erdoğan during a fast breaking dinner organized by the Istanbul Greater Municipality in the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul on July 29.

Well-known singers and television figures, including Orhan Gencebay, Bülent Ersoy, Acun Ilıcalı, Doğuş, Murat Göğebakan, Demet Akalın and Şafak Sezer, were also present at the fast-breaking dinner.

Erdoğan’s remarks came two days after Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said they would build a huge park in Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul similar to Central Park in New York, speaking after a fast-breaking dinner in Sultanahmet Square.

“When the Veliefendi Hippodrome is officially registered as closed to construction, following the 500,000-square-meter Çırpıcı Meadow, this area will total 1 million square meters. This is the biggest open area in Istanbul city center. We will build a park similar to Central Park and significant parks in Europe. This is just the beginning, and our work will continue,” Topbaş told reporters after the fast-breaking dinner in Sultanahmet Square late July 27.

At the beginning of his speech, Erdoğan offered his condolences to the family and relatives of Sinan Yılmaz, the police officer who was killed at a terrorist attack in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Erdoğan also spoke about his meeting with the families of the 34 people killed in an airstrike on Dec. 28, 2011, in the Uludere district of southeastern province of Şırnak.

“Lives are lost there [in Uludere]… They are parts of our hearts. But we should not forget the soldiers killed in attack on a military mission in Hantepe,” Erdoğan said of his meeting with the Uludere victims’ families.

“We are sorry for them [Uludere victims] at least as much as their families, we shed tears. We do not do politics over the funerals. All deaths will be investigated in detail. Independent jurisdiction will bring those responsible to account,” he added.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said they would build a huge park in Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul similar to Central Park in New York, speaking after a fast-breaking dinner in Sultanahmet Square on July 27.

“When the Veliefendi Hippodrome is officially registered as closed to construction, following the 500,000-square-meter Çırpıcı Meadow, this area will total 1 million square meters. This is the biggest open area in Istanbul city center. We will build a park similar to Central Park and significant parks in Europe. This is just the beginning, and our work will continue,” Topbaş told reporters after the fast-breaking dinner in Sultanahmet Square late July 27.

The Istanbul Greater Municipality Council banned construction at Çırpıcı Meadow, near the E-5 highway for this project, said Topbaş.

The 500-square-meter area, known as Çırpıcı Meadow, is owned by the Istanbul Greater Municipality, the Istanbul Waterworks Authority (İSKİ) and the private sector, said Topbaş, adding that all these properties can be merged into one and become a huge park.

“We are working on a project to expropriate the private property in this area for two years so that this area can be a city park used by 3 million people.”

Topbaş also noted that there had been an application to make the land of Veliefendi Hippodrome a natural protected area and said they had been meeting with the managers of the hippodrome on the issue.

Bakırköy, Zeytinburnu, Güngören and Bahçelievler districts of Istanbul will have a significant city park, said Topbaş, adding that this area is close to the tramway and sea transportation areas, making it a central park.

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