Trabzon In An Uproar Over Lighthouse In The Form Of A Cross

July 24 2008

The building is part of a commercial complex reminiscent of the
sea. The design wounds "the sensibilities" of the city where the
assassination of Fr Santoro was carried out, and that of Dink planned.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Sadly famous for being the site of the
assassination of the Italian priest Andrea Santoro (in 2006), and where
the killing of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was planned (last year),
the Turkish city of Trabzon is in an uproar over a commercial center,
the structure of which – inspired by the sea – includes a lighthouse
(in the photo) in the shape of a cross.

In reporting on the affair, the Turkish Daily News emphasizes the
"emotions" of the city’s inhabitants toward Christianity, because
of events in the past. The stumbling block is the "Trabzon Forum",
a commercial center inaugurated in the presence of prime minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the city, on the Black Sea, the imposing
structure is made to evoke a wave with a lighthouse beside it. This
was built with two balconies to allow visitors to admire the view. But
that makes it look like a cross.

And controversy has broken out. The architect, Levent Eyuboglu,
calls it a "misunderstanding", and even the director of the local
Karadeniz newspaper, Erhan Esaspehlivan, says that the people react
against anything that denigrates their own religion. "Islam is a noble
religion, and cannot be denigrated by little things like these. But
if you come and build a cross in the city center, we can’t overlook
it". On the other hand, a commentator for the same newspaper, Gursel
Colakoglu, says the matter has been blown out of proportion, in an
especially "sensitive" city.

Apart from the controversy, the people are convinced that the city
is in need of investment, like the new commercial center.