Thousands protested against Erdogan on Taksim Square – until the Turkish President put down the movement with police forces. Now a house of God has been built on the emblematic square.
Photo series with 23 pictures
Exactly eight years to the day after the anti-government protests began on the symbolic Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated a mosque there. Thousands of people came to the building in the Turkish capital on Friday, which combines Ottoman style with contemporary elements. Due to the large crowds, numerous believers had to pray in front of the mosque.
With the mosque, which can accommodate 4,000 people, Erdogan is putting his own stamp on central Taksim Square. When he was mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s, he had already pointed out the lack of a mosque in the square and was bothered by the fact that the only visible place of worship nearby was an Orthodox church.
The project caused criticism at the start of construction in 2017: Opponents accused Erdogan of wanting to Islamize the country and symbolically oust the state’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The mosque overshadows the monument of the republic, which represents important representatives of the Turkish War of Independence and has so far been the main attraction of Taksim Square.
Protests against Erdogan in Taksim Square
After initially wanting to inaugurate the mosque during Ramadan, Erdogan decided to place the celebrations on the anniversary of the start of the Gezi protests that were critical of the government in 2013, the main venue being Taksim Square.
The protests were sparked in May 2013 by the then Prime Minister Erdogan’s plans to develop Istanbul’s Gezi Park. After a brutal police operation against environmentalists, they spread across the country. Erdogan only succeeded in crushing the protest movement for weeks. The current president sees it as a conspiracy to overthrow his government.