World Bulletin / News Desk
A new era in Turkey's urban planning is set to begin with the transformation of old stadiums and airports into “People’s Garden”.
Amid the opening of Istanbul’s new airport, the Ataturk Airport in the western part of the port city will be transformed into a 12-million square meter garden, the Turkish president has announced.
Speaking at a televised interview Tuesday night, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Instead of a 12 million square meters Ataturk Airport, there will be ‘People’s Garden’. This is equal to four times of Central Park… We plan to implement this project in all our provinces. We will also transform the racetrack in Ankara into a people’s garden.”
Erdogan in another interview also said the current airport terminal building could be used as a fairground and/or a museum, adding: “Projects will be shaped according to our needs.”
With the new giant garden in place of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, the Turkish president argues families will, at last, get a chance to spend time in nature.
According to World Cities Culture Forum’s data from 2015, the percentage of green public spaces in Istanbul was 2.2. In 2016, the Istanbul Governor's Office announced that Istanbul has 45.25 percent forestlands.
The government remains determined to continue efforts to create a greener Turkey; Forestry and Water Minister Veysel Eroglu in September 2017 said: “We will complete this year by planting 350 million trees. The total number of trees we planted last year  was 3 billion and 750 million. We will make a record this year by planting a total of 4 billion trees.”
Turkish president said the People’s Garden in Ataturk Airport will be much larger than the Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London.
Erdogan said apart from the Ataturk Airport, Istanbul’s Basaksehir, Maslak, Pendik and Bakirkoy areas will also be transformed into a greener space along with Ankara’s Ataturk Cultural Center.
“We have made a new stadium for Eskisehir as you know, and the old stadium is now being transformed into a People’s Garden. Again in Bursa, the old stadium is being transformed into a People’s Garden. Similarly in Trabzon as well… We have almost done all of them,” he added.
Erdogan earlier said relevant institutions are working on the project and aim to further develop it.