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Istanbul’s Gezi Park to be demolished

22 July 2013

The ‘stay of execution’ over Gezi Park has been reversed by an Istanbul court of administration. This allows the demolition of the park ahead of the proposed construction of a shopping mall.

The Istanbul First Regional Court had, on June 6th, ruled to order a stay of execution in the case of the Taksim Gezi Park Protection and Beautification Association versus the Culture and Tourism Ministry, stopping the demolition amid countrywide protests.

The ministry appealed the verdict, prompting the Istanbul Sixth Administrative Court to lift the legal obstacles preventing Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality from demolishing Gezi Park until the State Council gave its final verdict on the matter.

The recent overturn allows construction to proceed even before the State Council finalizes its decision on the park.

The Gezi Park protests began on May 27th as a peaceful sit-in against the rebuilding of Ottoman artillery barracks, including the building of a mall on the last green space left in downtown Istanbul.

The building plans sparked protests from a small group,  which soon snowballed into countrywide anti-government protests following violent police action against peaceful protests. Government officials, including Prime Minister Erdogan, soon backed down from the planned mall construction.

Erdogan had even said that the government would be willing to go to the ballots over the future of the park.

Following a series of protests around the country, four protesters have died due to harsh police interventions during the demonstrations  A Police officer also died after falling from a bridge while pursuing fleeing protesters in Adana.

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