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Turkish court says Taksim needs a mosque

No mosque has been constructed in the area over the past 100 years.

Source : Agencies | Istanbul | 21 Jun 2012

An İstanbul court has turned down an application filed by the Chamber of Urban Planners to block the construction of a mosque in İstanbul's Taksim Square, saying that circumstances in the neighborhood have changed and the need for a mosque is clear, the Akşam daily reported on Wednesday.

The Chamber of Urban Planners filed the application at the İstanbul 1st Administrative Court, claiming that construction of a mosque in Taksim Square will damage the neighborhood's historical texture.

However, the court determined that the population of the neighborhood has undergone demographic changes over the years and that there is now a large Muslim population there, necessitating the construction of a mosque. No mosque has been constructed in the area over the past 100 years.

The court also said that there is currently a small masjid (prayer room) in Taksim with a tinplate minaret that is aesthetically unappealing and struggles to accommodate the current volume of visitors, particularly during the Friday prayer.

The proposed new mosque was designed by architect Ahmet Vefik Alp and details were released last month.

The mosque, which will also include a cultural center and museum, is expected to be constructed on land near the Consulate General of France in Taksim currently used as a parking lot.

Alp's design was commissioned by the Taksim Mosque Culture and Arts Foundation and has been approved by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Regional Protection Board. It now awaits approval from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last month the design received an award from the International Union of Architects in Sofia.


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