Istanbul mayor taking legal action over Gezi Park transfer to government

The opposition mayor of Istanbul has announced that the city’s municipality will be filing a legal case over the switching of ownership of the city’s symbolic Gezi Park to the government, Sözcü newspaper reported on Monday.

Turkey last week transferred ownership of Istanbul's Gezi Park, the focus of nationwide protests against Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2013, to the General Directorate of Foundations under Culture and Tourism Ministry.

İmamoğlu blasted the decision, saying the park was being handed over to "an unknown foundation from the times of (Ottoman) Sultan Beyazid.’’

The directorate transferred over and registered the park, without notifying the municipality, as property of an unknown entity called the Sultan Beyazıt Hanı Veli Hazretleri Foundation.

İmamoğlu said the decision had been made without any regard for the thoughts of the city’s some 16 million residents.

"Is this a joke?’’ the Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor asked while stressing they would take the matter to court.

Gezi protests in 2013 began as a small sit-in in Gezi Park in Taksim square against the proposed destruction of one of Istanbul’s few remaining green spaces to make way for a shopping mall, but spread across the country after police violently dispersed the protestors. Eleven people were killed and more than 8,000 injured in the ensuing violence.