Industrial group’s donation to clear debts of IKSV
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Eczacıbaşı Holding’s donation will halt the sale of the building, announced Bülent Eczacıbaşı at a meeting.“We have understood that sometimes a building is not just a building,” Bülent Eczacıbaşı, chairman of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts’ (İKSV) Board of Directors said yesterday, explaining the decision to stop the sale of the historic building that hosts the foundation’s headquarters. “The public told us that we should continue to uphold the values we have been endorsing,” he said, announcing that Eczacıbaşı Holding, a prominent Turkish industrial group, had decided to make a donation that will cover the debts of IKSV, which had prompted the sale of the building known as Deniz Palas.
“The public does not look at the İKSV as a foundation that merely organizes festivals,” Eczacıbaşı who is also the chairman of Eczacıbaşı Holding told the press.
The Eczacıbaşı Holding will pay an amount of 46 million Turkish Liras, 40 million of which will cover the debts of IKSV. The foundation’s financial difficulties stemmed from the acquisition four years ago of the 19th century building in Şişhane, one of Istanbul’s oldest yet fastest developing areas. The restoration as well as the maintenance of the building have added to the increase in debts prompting the foundation to put the building up for sale last October, asking bidders to start their offer from a minimum of 50 million dollars.
“IKSV is 41 years old while we are in the building for only four years. It is very interesting that it has become a symbol of IKSV in such a short time. The decision to sell the building has created an uproar in the public that we had not anticipated. The reactions have shown how much we were endorsed by the public. We decided we could not ignore the sensitivity,” said Eczacıbaşı.
The IKSV’s financial difficulties stemmed from the
acquisition four years ago of the 19th century building
The fact that very few places are dedicated to culture and art has played an important role in the sensitivity of the public, according to Eczacıbaşı. “We live in a city where we have problems as far as construction issues are concerned. This is also a problematic city in terms of the preservation of historic buildings. At the end of the day IKSV’s building is an office building with limited contact with the larger public. So it is thrilling that the building has been endorsed by the public,” he added.
As the public reaction increased speculations abounded that the building was to be used as a hotel by its new potential owners. Public’s sensitivity in Istanbul is on the rise, as an urban development frenzy has taken a toll by transforming historic buildings into commercial centers, mainly shopping malls. The municipality’s decision to demolish a park in Istanbul’s iconic Taksim square to replace it with a shopping mall created a tremendous uproar which later turned into anti-government demonstrations all over the country.
The deserted building of Atatürk Cultural Center, again in Taksim Square, remained controversial as the government reversed an earlier decision to restore it. The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced it would be demolished and a brand new building would be constructed.Foundations are struggling with financial difficulties as the money allocated by the government is also on the decrease. The government’s financial support to IKSV has dropped 50 percent over the course of the last two years according to Eczacıbaşı.
The total donations of Eczacıbaşı holding in the course of the last four years have reached 58 million liras with this latest donation, excluding the sponsorship provided by the holding which also allocated 1.3 million liras in the course of the last year on sponsorship.
“IKSV will continue without any debts and will own its own building. The foundation will not be able to sell the building for at least 10 years. We did not want to make it impossible for the IKSV not to sell the building forever. We did not wish to bar the foundation from the right to have a say in its own asset” he said. “This latest development does not mean that IKVS will be in a financially comfortable position.
Yet from now on all efforts to generate financial resources will be allocated to cultural activities rather than paying back the debts,” he said.