The Ottoman-era Divanhane building in Istanbul, currently used as the Northern Naval Area Command headquarters, will be converted into a museum for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Urbanism Ministry put up for objections the updated plans for the 19th century building in Erdoğan’s childhood neighbourhood Kasımpaşa, daily BirGün reported. The museum will sit on three hectares of land, and will be funded by public coffers.
Concept drawings for the museum, made public by journalist Murat Sabuncu in January, include references to Erdoğan’s amateur football career and life before his 1990’s debut in the political scene as the mayor of Istanbul.
Among the planned exhibits is the 2020 conversion of 6th century Byzantine monument Hagia Sophia, the Orthodox cathedral that was converted into a mosque under the Ottoman Empire and museum under Turkey, back into a mosque – a move heavily criticised by the Orthodox world as further damaging Turkey’s dwindling Christian population.
The Divanhane was built as one of five residences for top navy commanders in the Ottoman Empire.
Erdoğan has used several historic buildings in Istanbul as his offices over his two decades in power, including the Huber Manor on the Bosporus, the Vahdettin Pavillion in Üsküdar, the Yıldız Palace in Beşiktaş, and the Dolmabahçe Palace, where Turkey’s founding president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk passed away in 1938. The president’s main residence is a 1,150-room palace in the capital.