Demolition starts in hotel built on palace
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Municipal workers launch demolition works in a hotel reportedly built on the damaged walls of an ancient palace in the protected area of Sultanahmet. Fatih Municipality photoDemolition works have started at a hotel site built on the remains of a Byzantine palace, while Greece has protested to Turkey over the alleged neglect of Byzantine heritage sites.
Fatih Municipality in a written statement said the five-storey hotel will be demolished to the foundation level. “The construction continued without authorization and despite a ban imposed,” the statement said. “The demolition works have started.”
The walls of an ancient palace in the protected area of Sultanahmet were damaged and demolished to build a hotel, Radikal reported last week.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said after the report that no such construction would be allowed in Istanbul’s historic peninsula.
The decision to demolish the hotel came right before a protest by the Greek Foreign Ministry on the Byzantine sites in Turkey. Greece protested to Turkey Feb. 8 over the alleged neglect of Byzantine heritage sites after reports of damage to a protected necropolis and the remains of a palace in Istanbul.
“We regret to be informed that Greek and Christian monuments in Turkey do not receive the required care for their protection,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse. “We believe that cultural monuments, regardless of national or religious identity, should be protected.”
Athens pointed to Turkish reports of looting at a Byzantine necropolis in the Çatalca district and the demolition of the remains of a prominent palace in Sultanahmet district to make way for a hotel.
“This historical site had been declared a protected site of the first order,” the ministry said.