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Turkey: Istanbul Mosque Debate about Democracy or Islam?

In Turkey, it is not just the cost and questionable necessity of massive government development projects that are giving citizens pause. It is also what critics charge is the undemocratic way the city of Istanbul is being transformed without local input.

Among the ambitious projects initiated by Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), the building of a massive mosque in Istanbul with the world’s highest minarets, and the construction of another mosque and creation of a pedestrian area in the city’s central Taksim Square stand out. The roughly 50,000- square-meter mosque atop Istanbul’s Çamlıca Hill, one of the metropolis’ few undeveloped spaces, will be visible from around the city of 13.5 million. The Taksim Square project will eventually involve building a large mosque in Istanbul’s entertainment district, and then redirecting traffic underneath the square through underground tunnels.

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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.

Turkey: Istanbul Mosque Debate about Democracy or Islam?

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