ANKARA – Demirören News Agency
In the first three days of the referendum, which was organized by the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality to decide the fate of AnkaPark, a theme park in the capital Ankara, which was closed in early 2020, almost 60,000 people voted, most of them wanted it to be turned into a green space.
While around 15,000 people requested green space, more than 11,000 people wanted the park to be used as a zoo.
Some 8,425 people voted for the park, located on land bequeathed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Türkiye, to become Atatürk Forest Farm again, while 7,343 people wanted it to be transformed into a walking area.
“The referendum reveals that the public wants the new facility to be a free place where they can get some fresh air and hang out with their families,” said Volkan Memduh Gültekin, head of the municipality’s press and public relations department.
“The public will decide whether to invest millions more in vain or to build a large urban park with cycle and walking paths and green areas,” Gültekin added.
AnkaPark, which opened on March 21, 2019 and sparked controversy due to its cost of $801 million, was closed due to falling visitor numbers.
Four 10,000 square meter and six 5,000 square meter steel tents were built on a 1.3 million square meter site, while 1,217 giant toys including dinosaurs and giant robots were purchased for the park.
After a two-year legal process, a court decided to transfer control of AnkaPark to the new city administration led by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Mansur Yavaş emerged victorious from the local elections of March 31, 2019 in Ankara, becoming the new mayor of the capital.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) entered the electoral race in Ankara for the first time without its longtime mayor, Melih Gökçek, who did not take part in the contest for the first time since 1994.
After his long tenure in Ankara, Gökçek was forced to resign in 2017 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who had warned his party members against “metal fatigue”, calling for the renewal of local governments.