AKP besets Taksim Square, reminding reconstruction of Artillery Barracks

Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Kahraman has repeated the wish of government to construct the Artillery Barracks on Istanbul’s Gezi Park. The demolition of the park was prevented by the Gezi Resistance in 2013
Engin Karaman
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 04:23

Speaking to reporters in Dolmabahçe Palace, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman claimed that their history is older than 1923 and 1299, the years that the Turkish Republic and Ottoman Empire founded respectively. Kahraman has repeatedly demanded the reconstruction of Artillery Barracks ("Topçu Kışlası")  in Taksim as a museum.

"Our history is a deep-rooted tree. We should examine and reveal the each branch, trunk and fruits of this tree. Artillery Barracks in Taksim should be a history museum. Those who have defective mentality and sense of history, demolished the historic barracks. Why do not we save our history? We should and we will", said Kahraman referring to the debates on the barracks, the symbol of March 31 reactionist revolt occurred in 1909.

The project to construct a reproduction of the historic Artillery Barracks in Taksim has been leading spat due to the ideological and symbolic of the historic building. Revolt against the Second Constitutionalist Period had begun in 1909 around Artillery Barracks where the Gezi Park is now located.

The reproduction would have been built over Gezi Park in central Istanbul and serve as a shopping mall and residence with social facilities, but nationwide Gezi, or June, Resistance which continued throughout the summer of 2013 prevented the demolition of the park.

The project of Artillery Barracks was one of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s "crazy" projects in Istanbul, alongside a new airport, a third bridge and a man-made canal. 


On the other hand, the silhouette of the mosque construction in Taksim Square begins to appear.

The construction of a mosque that is set to be built in Taksim Square began on Feb. 17 with an official ceremony attended by the city’s former mayor, Kadir Topbaş.

Main carriers of the mosque and its minor domes completed. The construction of the main dome and minarets has started as well.


Another project surrounding the Taksim Square is the demolishment of Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM). Demolishing works at the AKM began on Feb. 13.

In November 2017, Erdoğan announced that the new building would be completed in 2019.

"This project is much richer than the current project. Its multi-purpose design will satisfy many more needs," Erdoğan said.

But the Chamber of Architects has repeated its criticism on the demolishment of the building.

"The AKM is one of the monumental symbols of modern Turkish architecture and of the Republic. The demolishment of AKM symbolizes the systematic attacks on the Republican era’s symbolic buildings," the chamber claimed.

Construction for the original AKM building, named after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, began on May 29, 1946. It was finished 23 years later, opening its doors on April 12, 1969, under the name of Istanbul Cultural Palace.