Hence the opening date chosen is very sensitive. Exactly 8 years ago, on May 28, 2013, the Gezi protests, named after Gezi Park, adjacent to Taksim Square, began.
These protests were initially against construction plans in the park, but the brutal police intervention led to a wider and more ferocious protest against the government of then Prime Minister Erdogan.
Erdogan repeated those protests in his inaugural speech this afternoon. According to him, these were directed against the mosque’s arrival. Then we were faced with the Gezi events. The moment we confronted these terrorists.
Since then, the repression has increased to the point where no more can be shown, Nizar says. “There are a lot of police around the square, and there are permanent break-down barriers to prevent protest attempts.”
Nizar said that until today, the situation has remained calm. “This is also related to the fact that demonstrating against a mosque is a sensitive issue, as well as opposing Erdoan. They do not want it to be portrayed as hatred of Islam. “.
Conservative Turks are excited about the mosque’s arrival, precisely because it is such a special place in Istanbul. “Just as it is a special experience for Muslims to pray in Hagia Sophia, so this mosque will be. It also means that there will be an additional attraction for tourists from Islamic countries.”
In a speech to the regional leaders of his party, President Erdoan expressed his great pleasure for the construction to be completed. “For years, since childhood, they have said that it can’t be done. But God has put us forward to build this.”