AKM to be replaced with new opera building

AKM to be replaced with new opera building

Beril Aktaş - ISTANBUL
AKM to be replaced with new opera building

Istanbul’s landmark Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) on Taksim Square will be demolished and replaced with a new building, Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı has said about the currently empty edifice, which has been the subject of a tug-of-war over its fate. 

“A new opera building will be established in the place of the AKM. This is not a political approach. If we will not demolish it, it will collapse on someone, which has also been revealed by reports. This building has completed its life. The new opera building will be designed to meet the needs of Istanbul, and its architecture will be coherent with Taksim,” he said late last week during a meeting with the culture and arts editors of newspapers at the Topkapı Palace Museum.

New developments regarding the building will be shared with the media imminently, he said. 

When asked about the privatization of the State Theaters, Avcı said the ministry was still working on the issue while complaining about “prejudices” in arts circles. 

“Art should be supported by the state,” he said, adding that the purpose of the ministry was to find a middle ground with artists and artistic circles. 

Avcı also expressed his concern about the fall in Turkish tourism this year, saying the rate of the fall was 50 percent in 2016 but that they were hopeful about a revival in 2017. 

Situation of Austrian excavations in Turkey 

The minister was also asked about the situation of the Ephesus excavations, which were conducted for more than 100 years by the Austrian Archaeology Institute but cancelled two months before scheduled this season following a decision by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The decision also included halting work at the ancient city of Limyra in the southern province of Antalya and in Myra, also in Antalya, where excavations have been continuing since 1970.

Avcı said the decision was a kind of warning but that a final decision on the fate of Austrian participation in the digs would be revealed in the near future during consultations with the Foreign Ministry. 

The Culture Ministry wishes to continue the Ephesus excavations with Turkish archaeologists, Avcı said. “Many Turkish universities have archaeology departments and we can carry out the excavations.” 

The Austrian Archaeology Institute was prevented from conducting further digs amid a diplomatic row between Ankara and Vienna.

The minister also said the Urartian Museum, which has been under construction since 2012 in the eastern province of Van, the center of Urartian civilization, would soon be opened.