07/24/2008, 00.00
TURKEY
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Trabzon in an uproar over lighthouse in the form of a cross

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 Eyüboğlu, 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, Gürsel Çolakoğlu, 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.

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