Turkey talks up planned new park in Istanbul

A park planned for the location currently occupied by Istanbul’s main airport will attract over a million visitors to the city annually said Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) Chairman Firuz Bağlıkaya in comments made to Daily Sabah newspaper.

The proposed park, to be constructed when Atatürk airport ceases operations following the opening of a gigantic new airport currently being built north-west of the city, was announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week as he gears up for twin presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 and close to the fifth anniversary of Turkey's Gezi Park protests. 

Bağlıkaya said the park will be the third largest in the world, "Just like Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London, the city park will be the landmark of Istanbul," he said.

Ibrahim Halil Korkmaz, chairman of the Istanbul Tourism Associations (ISTTA) was also enthusiastic about the park, saying, "We will make the area an attraction center without wasting a single penny of the state. We will find funding from abroad."

Another who welcomed the proposal was Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) Chairman Timur Bayındır.

"There were some rumors that Atatürk Airport was going to be a construction area," he said, "On the contrary, the idea of making a giant park was a very elegant step. Istanbul was very much in need of such a park. We think that this park will be used just like İzmir International Fair area because the park is close to the exhibition center. For this reason, some buildings can be used for fairgrounds instead of demolishing everything."