ISTANBUL — Human skulls and bones were found during ongoing excavations at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Zaman newspaper reports. The bones reportedly belong to Armenians, since an Armenian cemetery was situated in the area till 1939.

Suleiman the Magnificent ordered construction of the cemetery when his imperial chef Manuk Karaseferian denounced a group of people trying to poison the Sultan. For almost four hundred years the site formed part of the largest Christian burial ground in Constantinople: the Pangalti Armenian Cemetery.

In 1865, the raging cholera infected not only the general public, but also some courtiers in Istanbul. Armenians were thus banned from burying their dead in the cemetery situated close to the winter palace, an area in Sisli district of Istanbul allocated to the Armenians and Greeks instead.

Sultan Abdulaziz ordered the confiscation of a part of Taksim Armenian cemetery in 1870, with the whole area alienated in 1939.

Governor and Mayor of Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar confirmed the construction of modern-day’s Gezi Park and several buildings in 1940.

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