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Erdoğan: Historic sites in Istanbul to be demolished for reconstruction

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a TV interview on Sunday that some of the historic buildings on İstanbul’s famous peninsula will be demolished and rebuilt by a joint Qatari-Turkish company.

The remarks that drew criticism specifically referred to the area surrounding the historic Ottoman-era Süleymaniye Mosque, one of the landmarks of the city.

“All that historic heritage et cetera will be demolished with the cooperation of a Qatari-Turkish company and Kiptaş [a municipal-run contractor] and will be rebuilt based on the originals,” Erdoğan stated. He went on to say that the area would be transformed into a “major attraction” after reconstruction.

However, social media users wondered why an existing historic site should be demolished only to be rebuilt. People also criticized cooperation with the Qatari Diar company, which has no expertise in historic renovation projects.

The area Erdoğan plans to demolish is in included in UNESCO’s cultural heritage.

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