President Erdoğan paves way for greener Turkey

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Speaking at a televised interview Tuesday night, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Istanbul's Atatürk Airport would be transformed into a green public space after the opening of the new airport.

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 Atatürk 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 Erdoğan said: "Instead of a 12 million square meters Atatürk 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."

Erdoğan 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 Atatürk 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 Eroğlu in September 2017 said: "We will complete this year by planting 350 million trees. The total number of trees we planted last year [2016] 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 Atatürk Airport will be much larger than the Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London.

Erdoğan said apart from the Atatürk Airport, Istanbul's Başakşehir, Maslak, Pendik and Bakırköy areas will also be transformed into a greener space along with Ankara's Atatürk Cultural Center.

"We have made a new stadium for Eskişehir 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.

Erdoğan earlier said relevant institutions are working on the project and aim to further develop it.
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