Conservation Board orders halt to construction in historic Istanbul coastal area
ISTANBUL / Radikal Ömer Erbil
The coastal area in Ataköy was a green area only two years ago, as the above picture taken in 2012 shows. The second picture, which was taken this year, reveals the extent of the damage after the construction of residences started. Radikal photoThe Cultural Heritage Conservation Board has issued a decision to halt construction on a historic Istanbul site to launch a further probe following reports that the project started without the consent of the board.
Daily Radikal on Jan. 23 reported that Turkey’s state-owned housing agency (TOKİ) moved to open tenders and allowed the construction at an area in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district, which houses the Baruthane buildings and the İskender Çelebi Garden from the Ottoman era, as well as an old wall, without the receiving the board’s permission.
TOKİ has released a statement following the report, highlighting all necessary legal permission was granted by the authorities. It was later revealed that permission was granted by Natural Heritage Conservation board.
The Cultural Heritage Conservation Board sent its decision to the Bakırköy Municipality and TOKİ on Jan. 27, asking to stop construction on the parcel numbered 160, where the Baruthane buildings are, until the board has completed an examination of the area. The statement also asked the authorities to make the process easier for the experts who will examine the area. The Bakırköy Municipality asked TOKİ to stop construction immediately following the board’s decision.
The historical items in the construction area are considered as cultural assets that need protection, according to a high council of monuments’ ruling, dated 1956. Trees in the area were also cut for the construction project conducted by TOKİ and Çelebican A.Ş.
The area of 412,000 square meters was handed over to TOKİ on Dec. 14, 2001, with a protocol signed between Emlakbank and TOKİ. The area was then declared to be an area of tourism and divided up into parts. The construction started in the area after it was sold and rented with TOKİ’s tender in 2009.