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Turkish Prime Minister

The historic “Topçu Kışlası” (Artillery Barracks) in Istanbul’s Taksim Square are to be converted into a shopping mall and might serve as a residence with social facilities, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech today, as he unveiled details of some other major urban projects to be rolled out in Istanbul in a near future.

The rebuilding of the Topçu Kışlası was approved by the High Council for Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets on March 1.

The Taksim Square sits at the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu, the main entertainment and arts center, where ambitious large-scale renovation works are currently taking place.

Additonally, the foundations of a third bridge over Istanbul’s Bosphorus will be laid within a few months, Erdoğan said in Ankara while addressing provincial heads of his party.

Erdoğan also said some groups were trying to create obstacles to prevent the implementations of the new urban projects.

“They suspended the Marmaray project by showing some pottery as an excuse. It would have opened three or four years ago under normal conditions. If you really want to reach the level of contemporary civilizations, we must make such investments rapidly,” Erdoğan said.

Marmaray is a large rail project that will connect the two sides of Istanbul, and is a part of a larger plan to ease rail access to Istanbul.

Archeological findings in the Yenikapı section of the project caused delays by raising concerns over the historic heritage present.

“Why don’t you preserve the historic artillery instead of these potteries?” Erdoğan said, criticizing the groups opposing the Marmaray project on the grounds that artifacts were found below its building site.

A third Istanbul airport would be completed within four years, the prime minister added.

Erdoğan said his government aimed to take office in 30 municipalities of Istanbul. “Like a plane tree, we provide our supplement from our deep roots. The roots of a tree are its past, while its trunk is its present and the branches constitute its future. So, each branch and leaf has a vital importance for the health of a tree,” he said.

“We will spend each hour of ever day to serve our people. We do not recognize any excuse [that might hinder us from] serving our nation,” Erdoğan said.

The 8th Turkish-Arab Economic Forum will be held on Thursday (April 4) in Istanbul, with the support of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The forum will bring together 600 participants from Turkey and Arab and European countries led by ministers, central bank governors and leaders of major companies operating in the fields of investment, banking and real estate development, industry, trade and tourism.
The forum starts with a business lunch with Turkish Minister of Finance Mehmet Simsek, followed by an official opening, where Iraqi Minister of Construction and Housing Mohammed Suhaib Al-Daraji, Egyptian Minister of Investment Osama Saleh, Simsek and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs Ali Babacan will successively take the floor.
The forum’s program will include keynote speeches delivered by Ukrainian First Vice-Prime Minister Sergei Arbuzov who will announce the Arab-Ukrainian Forum being organized by Al-Iktissad wal-Aamal on Oct. 3 of this year in Kiev, as well as Chairman of the Istanbul Stock Exchange Ibrahim Turhan who will make public during the forum the launch of the Stock Exchange in its new name after it was turned into a private company.
This will be followed by the launch of the Istanbul Financial Center (IFC) real estate project.
As for the program of the sessions, it will cover the following topics: First: The prospects of bilateral cooperation in the field of real estate development through the developments in Turkey and a selection of Arab countries. Second: The dynamics of Turkish-Arab regional cooperation in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
In this session, the speakers will be Egyptian Investment Minister Osama Saleh, Central Bank of Kuwait Gov. Mohammed Youssef Al-Hashel and Strategic planning Director at Audi-Saradar Group Freddie Baz. Third: The prospects of Arab-Turkish integration in the field of financial markets and its positive impact on both sides. Fourth: Arab-Turkish cooperation in the fields of investment in Turkey, and specifically in the sectors of petrochemicals, health and trade. Fifth: The potential of Islamic banking in the region and the use of sukuk to fund major projects in Turkey.
The forum is also expected to include on the second day a session dedicated to strategic political affairs with the active participation of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Qatar Khalid Al-Attiyah, and former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Amre Moussa.

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