Mufti's office seeks jailed urban planner's expertise for mosque project

Mufti's office seeks jailed urban planner's expertise for mosque project
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Officials from the Istanbul mufti's office were dismayed to learn that Tayfun Kahraman, their sought-after consultant, is serving an 18-year sentence.

In a tragicomic twist of events, the mufti's office of a district in Istanbul reached out to Tayfun Kahraman, a renowned urban planner and former head of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's (IMM) Earthquake Risk Management Department, for his expert opinion on a mosque renovation project, only to discover that he had been arrested and sentenced to 18 years in prison as part of the controversial Gezi Trial.

Tayfun Kahraman, known for his expertise in urbanization and earthquake risk, was sought after by the mufti's office when issues arose regarding the renovation of a mosque in an earthquake-prone district of Istanbul. The call was received by his wife, Meric Demir Kahraman, who was forced to inform the officials that her husband could not provide his consultancy as he was incarcerated.

Meric Demir Kahraman expressed the officials' reaction as a profound surprise and upset upon learning of Tayfun's imprisonment. She later made a public statement, highlighting the importance of her husband's knowledge and expertise to the country and calling for common sense and justice to prevail for his release.

"This country needs Tayfun," she stated, emphasizing his significant role in urban planning and public safety and the loss his students and colleagues felt due to his absence.

Tayfun Kahraman has been imprisoned since April 25, 2022, on charges of attempting to overthrow the government unlawfully, a claim that his supporters and human rights activists argue is baseless and politically motivated. The Gezi Trial, under which he was sentenced, has been widely criticized by international observers as an attempt to stifle dissent and silence voices of opposition.