‘Istanbul has been defeated by the construction sector’s unjust profit,’ says Günay. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Istanbul has been defeated by the construction sector’s unjust profit, Turkish Tourism and Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay has said, blaming local and national political figures. “Unfortunately the political and economic power of the construction sector exceeds our protection power and authority. I am not responsible for the point we have reached,” he told daily Yeni Şafak.
The minister said while unplanned urbanization and squatter houses were seen as a problem before, now the same disorder prevails for high-rise buildings, adding that his authority remains insufficient to prevent this. He said Istanbul residents had lost the fight against profit seeking, adding that the silhouettes of the Haydarpaşa Train Station and Tıbbiye-i Şahane buildings were unfortunately ruined. “Istanbul cannot be subjected to such profit-seeking activities. We are facing a problem which is constantly bothering our consciences. The most serious problem is the spoiling of the historical peninsula’s silhouette, since high-rise buildings rise over the Sultanahmet
Mosque and Hagia Sophia Museum. It will be very hard to pay for its consequences.” He repeated a previous statement on high-rise buildings, “Istanbul is not a 200-year-old city, and it won’t be Manhattan.”
Günay said this process could not be stopped because of the profit seekers, adding that it required acting with principles.
“We are trying to prevent it as much as we can, but our relationships with most circles have been damaged and we could be the target of their hostile attitude. Still I am saying without hesitation: I defend Istanbul.” Günay said profit seekers had spoiled Istanbul’s silhouette on the historical peninsula and on the Bosphorus. “A construction chaos is being experienced. Unfortunately, Istanbul lost the fight on profit-seeking,” Günay said.