Istanbul district bans swimming pools in big new developments

The municipal council of Zeytinburnu, a district of Turkish metropolis Istanbul, has banned swimming pools, limited the number of one-bedroom apartments and made prayer halls compulsory in big new developments, moves critics say are meant to push people towards what is seen as a more Islamic lifestyle.

“While these decisions were being taken, they did not ask us, the people of Zeytinburnu,” the Sözcü newspaper quoted opposition Republican People’s Party council member Esin Hacıalioğlu as saying.

“They are trying to plan our living spaces and our lifestyles,” he said, referring to the municipality, which controlled by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In the past, one-bedroom flats have come under attack from conservatives in Turkey for encouraging single living and a non-family lifestyle.