More than a third of Ataturk Park, a beloved green space in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, has been lost. Over the course of a decade, city authorities gave the land away — and what was once known as “the people’s park” is now a private enclave for the rich and famous.
One after another, Bishkek city officials bent or broke the law to give prime land to Kyrgyzstan’s most elite citizens.
Almost three decades ago, architecture students were promised a brand-new campus on the grounds of Ataturk Park. Instead, the university’s land was given away to private owners, many of whom were members of the Kyrgyz elite — including their own rector.
Kyrgyz authorities wanted to build a hotel complex for foreign delegations in Bishkek’s Ataturk Park. Instead, the public land ended up in the hands of private businessmen — again.