Duvar EnglishLand rented for mosque construction on iconic Atatürk Forest Farm to be kept as a park
A 250,000 square-meter parcel of protected land in Ankara's Atatürk Forest Farm has been rented to the Ministry of National Defense after its status was converted to be suitable for military use, according to a report in the daily Birgün last week.
A zoning report regarding the land stated that it would be used to meet the deployment needs of the military's Special Forces Command.
The municipality of Ankara's Etimesgut district, which borders the Atatürk Forest Farm to the west and is controlled by the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), opposed the plan, stating that the land in question is being used for agricultural purposes, that it should be protected and not opened to development, and that there are already numerous plots of available military land in Etimesgut.
The municipality also emphasized that the zoning plan was not suitable for the land and that a section of it could not be used for development projects.
Established in 1925, the surface of the Atatürk Forest Farm has shrunk by 40 percent between then and 2015. It receded most notably in 2014, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan erected a controversial presidential palace, which boasts more than 1,000 rooms and was built at the cost of $600 million, in the middle of the farm.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) figures have also transformed parcels of land within the Atatürk Forest Farm. That included former longtime Ankara mayor Melih Gökçek who built Ankapark, a vast amusement park, and Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca who built Medipol University.Company constructs wedding hall in Ankara's iconic Atatürk Forest Farm land