The city council of İstanbul on Friday overwhelmingly voted to remove US President Donald Trump’s name from a pedestrian underpass in the bustling business district of Mecidiyeköy due to Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims.
The proposal was made by members of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Council and received support from members of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which also governs İstanbul.
The city had given Trump’s name to the underpass connecting to the metro line when the nearby Trump Towers, made up of two conjoined landmark residential and business buildings, was opened three years ago. President Erdoğan attended the inauguration ceremony for the towers.
Even before the controversies surrounding Trump’s multiple campaign statements in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election that were widely perceived as anti-Muslim, the CHP tried to remove the name on the grounds that the council never reviewed the naming process, according to a report by Kurdistan 24.
The official name of the towers, in which the Trump Organization has a licensing partnership, remains untouched for the time being. In 2016, Erdoğan called for changing the towers’ name, saying, “I made a mistake by attending its opening.”
Last month, the nationalist İYİ Party had urged President Erdoğan to seize the towers, privately owned by Turkish businessman and former media mogul Aydın Doğan, in retaliation for the Trump administration’s sanctioning of two ministers of the Erdoğan government over their role in the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.