Turkey to turn Akinci Air Base into public park

The Akinci Air Base, which was used as the headquarters by the July 15 coup plotters, will be converted into public space called 'democracy park'.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Akinci Air Base, Ankara, Turkey.

The Akinci airbase located in the Turkey’s capital city of Ankara would be turned into a public-use space called 'democracy park', said Defence Minister Fikri Işik during an interview with Turkish media.

The minister also said the government is in the process of relocating a number of troops to Istanbul and Ankara by mid-September.

"Our goal is to move troops in Ankara and Istanbul by Septeber 15. Efforts are ongoing and plans have been made. Some troops will be relocated in 10 days, while others might take 20 days or a month."

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Işik.

The Akinci airbase was used as the headquarters by the July 15 coup plotters, who are believed to be followers of Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen.

He said the government intended to establish a democracy park where the airbase is currently located.

“These spaces will be opened to the public,” he added.

The move comes after Turkish Orime Minister Binali Yildirim made the announcement last month.

The PM also announced the closure of military barracks in Istanbul and Ankara city centres used by the putschists.

Battalions and tanks

Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki said only the battalions that carry out target practice and the ones that use tanks would be shifted from urban centres to rural areas.

He said a special commission will be set up for each province which will research and determine as to which units would stay or move.

“It is out of the question to relocate military lodgings. Battalions that shoot and tanks will go,” Özhaseki added.

"Those that are essential should stay. A battalion of tanks should go out; what is it doing in the city centre?"

In the case of spaces that are in the city center, Özhaseki said, "We will preserve their greenery and turn them into parks. But, there are also prairies around cities which may be used as reserve areas in urban transformation."

He, however, said these plans have a cost.

“In the past, we were told to relocate a brigade in Isparta and a report said it would cost 150 million Turkish Liras.”

Özhaseki said some of the costs could be met through construction in current military zones not located in city centres.

TRTWorld and agencies