Court annuls numerous project plans threatening authenticity of historic Istanbul peninsula
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyAn Istanbul court has annulled a large number of reconstruction project plans for multiple places in Istanbul’s centuries-old historical peninsula, stating that the projects will ease modern city life, but damage the peninsula’s original fabric.
The Istanbul 2nd Administrative Court on April 24 annulled more than half of the items of a 61-item reconstruction project plan covering a large part of Istanbul’s historical peninsula based on a 286-page expert report on major projects such as an under-Bosphorus tunnel pass with access roads running along a historical train station, a wholesale fish market, a huge bus park area and a large garden by the historical walls of the old city.
The court annulled the project plan of the Eurasia Tunnel Pass, an underwater tunnel project slated to pass through various parts of the historical peninsula, which the report said was designed more to ease the flow of vehicle traffic on the peninsula rather than protect the city’s silhouette.
The court also annulled the execution of a project plan to construct recreational areas and several open-air sports centers across a vast area including the Yedikule Gardens, a large green space along the old city’s walls that is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The court said the project was not in accordance with the historical identity of the old city walls.
Stating the reconstruction conditions and purposes were not clearly stated for an area registered as a municipal service area, the court annulled another project plan to build a marina on the area of the Kumkapı Wholesale Fish Market, which was demolished on the grounds that it lay on an access road leading out to the Eurasia Tunnel Pass.
The court also changed from “commercial area” to “green area” the status of the Topkapı Bus Park, a large area in the Şehremini neighborhood in Istanbul’s Fatih district, which was previously used as a parking area by the Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel (IETT), a mass transit company operating in Istanbul.
Among the project plans partly annulled by the court were the Sirkeci Terminal, engineer’s workshops used by Turkey’s public railroads company in Fatih’s Yedikule neighborhood, the Yedikule Gashouse, several would-be carparks across Fatih, a student dormitory and technical schools inside the old city walls.
The Sirkeci Terminal, a historical train station which no longer functions and remains idle due to a permanent change to Istanbul’s railroad systems, was ordered to be used for cultural purposes by the court.
The move came after Fatih Municipality Assembly’s eight members from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) filed a case for the cancellation of the project plan on the grounds that the project would alter the original fabric of Fatih district, which lies within the historical peninsula.
The project plan had been approved on May 9, 2012, by Fatih Municipality and on Oct. 4, 2012, by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) through majority votes.
The court decision to annul the project plans was made on behalf of Fatih residents, said Fazıl Uğur Soylu, a Fatih Municipality Assembly member from the CHP.