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Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Wednesday that he would challenge in court the decision to demolish the Ataturk International Airport, which was closed with the opening of a new air hub in the Turkish metropolis. He also told reporters that the equipment for dismantling the runways at the airport appeared a few days before the signing of the relevant contract.

The contract for work at Ataturk Airport with the company that received the contract is dated May 16, but the equipment appeared on the runway a few days before this date. I will sue the company and all those responsible [for the demolition decision], Karar newspaper quoted the mayor of Istanbul as saying. According to Imamoglu, the relevant work at the airport has been stopped for the time being.

The Istanbul mayor has repeatedly spoken out against the demolition of Turkey's oldest airport and has announced plans to reopen it if the opposition wins the general election in 2023. At the same time, the current Turkish authorities intend to create a Nation Park on the site of the old airport and leave one of its three runways for possible use in emergency situations, special flights and international events.

The opposition claims that the land on the territory of the former airport is planned to be sold to foreigners, in particular from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Murat Kurum, Minister of Ecology and Urban Development of Turkey, called these allegations a fiction, having previously told reporters that no one intends to sell the land and no development is planned at all on the territory of the former airport.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport, opened more than 100 years ago, was one of the three busiest air gateways in Europe.

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