İstanbul court issues injunction for controversial Taksim project

May 31, 2013, Friday/ 19:03:00

An İstanbul administrative court has issued an injunction on a government decision to build a replica of the Topçu Barracks as part of the Taksim rejuvenation project, which has led to violent clashes between protestors and police for four days.

The İstanbul 6th Administrative Court on Friday announced its decision on a case filed against the project and unanimously issued an injunction.

The project was rejected by the ministry's Protection Board in January 2013. However, the High Commission, whose decision is regarded as final, decided to go ahead with the project -- which includes a replica of the Topçu Barracks -- in the place where Gezi Park is located. Over the years Gezi Park has hosted many different kinds of events -- from protests to picnics and from exhibitions to concerts.

The Taksim pedestrianization project was approved by the government in February 2012 and includes the construction of replicas of previously demolished buildings in the famous square. The historic Topçu Barracks was a 35,000-square-meter building that was demolished by İstanbul authorities in 1940. It is to be constructed in what is now Gezi Park, the site of the original Ottoman barracks. The ministry had previously announced that part of the garden in Gezi Park will be protected by the construction of the barracks because the structure will limit public access to it.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in April that new barracks to be rebuilt will become a shopping mall and a residential area.