Cemil Şeboy, a deputy candidate for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has suggested the construction of the world's biggest Virgin Mary statue in the Selçuk district of western İzmir province, in order to increase the district's tourism potential.
Şeboy said that a project will be submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to design the statue of the central Christian figure. As the deputy candidate for İzmir's first electoral district, Şeboy said that several projects that will turn the district into a tourist destination are already completed.
While listening to the problems of local craftsmen, Şeboy expressed his determinism to list Selçuk district among Turkey's leading tourism destinations with the support of the ministry. "I am aware of the current problems in İzmir and know the characteristic features of its districts. Selçuk has the potential to become an important tourism center. On one side, there is the House of the Virgin Mary, and on the other, we have the antique city of Ephesus," he continued.
Şeboy first suggested to build a Virgin Mary statue when he was the district mayor of Buca. He recalled that a statue of Rumi was designed in Buca and its surrounding was turned into a recreational area during his office term. "A giant Jesus Christ state stands in Brazil. We can make a similar statue of Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ. A telpher line can also be built from the location of the statue to the district's center," he added. The telpher line will increase tourist flow and more local shops will benefit from it, he said.
Şeboy further stated that he will closely follow the re-establishment of a harbor in Ephesus, among the thirty-five projects undertaken by the government. "A century later, Ephesus will meet the sea. The historic harbor of Ephesus will be rebuilt. Other historic structures will also be renovated," he said, adding that it will be possible to arrive to Ephesus via boat. Şeboy believes that when these projects are realized, the Selçuk district will be a popular destination for visitors from around the world.