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Controversial tomb survives urban transformation project

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A tomb that was considered sacred by residents has been allowed to remain in place in the middle of construction sites after locals in the Yakutiye district of Erzurum province protested the municipality’s building plans, the T24 news website reported on Sunday.

The tomb is believed to be that of Hasan Basri, an eighth century Islamic scholar from Basra, Iraq, after whom the neighborhood was named.

Dozens of buildings were demolished in an urban transformation project in Hasan Basri, and the area surrounding the tomb was excavated to a depth of seven to eight meters.

The municipality constructed new apartment blocs in the immediate area, leaving the tomb stranded on a mound in the middle of them.

Mayor Ali Korkut stated that Hasan Basri had never been in Erzurum and that his grave must be in Basra. Still, he pledged not to destroy the tomb in line with residents’ demands.

A construction firm said they would like to build a parking lot around the tomb and that they would also turn the area into a green space.

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