Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday gave his backing to the redevelopment of Istanbul’s Gezi Park – a project that sparked nationwide protests in 2013.
“One of the issues that we have to be brave [about] is Gezi Park in Taksim,” Erdogan said at a meeting on Istanbul’s heritage. “We will construct that historical building there.”
He said the square should house also an opera house.
The Gezi Park protest spread across the country in June 2013, leaving eight protesters and one police officer dead and dozens injured. Hundreds were arrested.
The barracks – Topcu Kislasi – were originally built in 1780 and destroyed in 1940.
Referring to the recent vote by the German parliament to recognize the deaths of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as so-called genocide, Erdogan suggested creating a museum display of past German, French and American misdeeds within the replica of barracks which can be called either history museum or city museum.
On June 2, the Bundestag passed a resolution accusing the Ottoman government of carrying out so-called genocide against Armenians.
Turkey acknowledges there were casualties on both sides after some Armenians sided with the invading Russians but refutes allegations that the Armenian deaths in 1915 amounted to genocide.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of an international commission of historians to resolve the issue.