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Goodbye to Istanbul's Last Green Space, says Turkish Court After Weeks of Protests

Gezi Park's fate still uncertain after opposing court rulings

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

A Turkish court approved the demolition of Istanbul's Gezi Park in Taksim Square on Monday, the site of continual mass demonstrations since late May in which Turkish protesters came out en masse in support of the city's last green space.

The protests were sparked by the city's plans to build a shopping center on the park land but grew into a wider movement against Prime Minister Erdogan and his handling of the protests.

The protesters had eventually won a stay of demolition for the park in the Istanbul First Regional Court due to a lack of public consultation but the Istanbul 1st Administrative Court handed down its opposing ruling on Monday after an appeal was brought by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

However, it is still unclear if the demolition will commence due to the opposing rulings, according to Hurriyet Daily News:

However, according to [Can Atalay] a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the case, the court ruling has no legal basis and a redevelopment plan cannot be implemented in any way. [Atalay] said the plan opening Gezi Park for construction had already been cancelled by the Istanbul 1st Administrative Court and the Regional Court’s verdict was therefore not valid.

"This order is unlawful. You can't even hammer a nail in the park because... (of the) Istanbul First Administration Court decision on the suspension of all construction efforts in the area," said Atalay.

Either way, protesters are expected back in the park as they have continued to turn out every weekend since the demonstrations began in May.


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