Topkapı Palace buildings being restored step by step: Turkish Culture Ministry
ISTANBULRestoration at Topkapı Palace is ongoing step by step, and risky buildings at the complex will be strengthened, the Turkish Culture Ministry has said in response to an opposition lawmaker.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu asked the reason why “necessary precautions weren’t taken when crevices in the building were observed,” prompting the ministry to reply that “the necessary projects for the places that needed strengthening and started in previous years are continuing step by step.”
“The necessary projects for the structures of Topkapı Palace that need strengthening have started in the previous years and will continue,” the statement released from the ministry read.
“The works in the structure are being conducted as part of a program in this direction and the deformations that were determined previously are being addressed,” the statement also read.
Major renovation efforts worth around 10 million Turkish Liras recently started at Istanbul’s historic Topkapı Palace after deep crevices were found in the treasury room of the Ottoman-era palace in July.
The discovery of the crevices prompted the partial closure of the Ottoman-era palace to tourists.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry noted that serious cracks in the basement floor and static deformations in the treasury walls went “beyond the crack area and reached the discrete and slit levels.” The ministry risk analysis came after parts of a wall in the nearby Gülhane Park collapsed in April, killing two people and injuring five others.
The ministry, in its reply to Tanrıkulu, also said Istanbul Municipality had been leading works on the risky buildings at the complex under the supervision of the Museum Directorate.
Tanrıkulu also asked questions regarding the tender for the palace’s restoration. The Istanbul lawmaker asked which firm was conducting the restoration and whether a tender had been opened for the planned restoration works. The ministry responded that a tender had been opened.
“As is known, Topkapı Palace is a complex consisting of plenty of structures. A tender was opened for the renovation of the structures,” it said, adding that restoration efforts concerning the structures had started at different time periods due to the differing levels of need with the structures.
Turkish Culture Minister Nabi Avcı visited the palace on Oct. 3 after news reports that the popular Ottoman-era tourist site was riddled with dangerous cracks in its treasury room.
Avcı said the recent media coverage of the crevices in the basement floor of the palace’s treasury room, the Fatih Pavilion, which led to its artifacts being removed for safety measures, wrongly reported the deep cracks as a new issue.
“These cracks are not an issue that recently emerged. This is a situation that we as the ministry and the Topkapı [Palace] authority have been working on since Oct. 10, 2015,” Avcı said.