Opposition Good (İYİ) Party Istanbul municipal council member Ali Kıdık on March 19 said that a new mosque is being constructed on the runway of Istanbul's old Atatürk Airport.
“Those who want to erase Atatürk Airport from history, even though there is a mosque 100 meters away, have also started to build a mosque in order not to have Atatürk Airport reopened if the (opposition) Nation Alliance wins the elections,” Kıdık said on Twitter, meaning that the ruling AKP would use the case of a demolition of mosque in politics.
Zihniyetin, niyetinin anlaşıldığı yapılar yükselmeye başlamış. Atatürk Havalimanını tarihten silmek isteyenler tam karşısında 100 metre mesafede cami olmasına rağmen Millet İttifakı kazanırsa Atatürk Havalimanını açtırmamak için cami inşaatını da yapmaya başlamışlar. pic.twitter.com/fhQIISr69w— Ali KIDIK (@alikdk) March 19, 2023
The old airport is under construction to be turned into a “nation’s garden.”
Previously, two runways of the airport were demolished and a hospital was constructed there during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Atatürk Airport, located in the south of Istanbul, was closed to commercial flights after the opening of Istanbul Airport in 2019.
Opposition figures have continuously emphasized that the move to close down the Atatürk Airport wasted a huge amount of public sources. The state, for example, paid 390 million euros to the company running the Atatürk Airport as its contract was terminated earlier than scheduled.
The new airport is under harsh criticism because of its distance to the city center and its location which is exposed to heavy weather conditions, like fog, snow and wind, during the winter.
According to the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report, the area that the new airport was constructed on is windy 107 days of the year and heavily cloudy in 65 days on average. It's also on the migration path of some 600,000 birds annually.