Plans on Taksim protested

Plans on Taksim protested

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
A group of 150 people protested yesterday against plans by Istanbul Municipality to pedestrianize the famous Taksim Square.

Gürsel Tekin, deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told protesters that he had been struggling against negative urban transformation for years. “I brought 167 cases to trial so far. Now we are in the center of Istanbul, a city which has no squares and no green spaces. Nobody in the world is charged for demanding a better environment, but they are in Turkey. More than 1,000 people are on trial for just that reason here,” Tekin said. 

The plan is also drawing reactions from nongovernmental organizations and academic circles, who say the plan will limit pedestrian access to the square. 

“Pedestrianization sounds like a positive change, but the way it is used in this project is not positive at all. In this scheme, to arrive in Taksim Square, pedestrians will have only two choices. The first is to walk in a single line on two sides of the street for nearly 70 meters, and the second is climbing stairs from the underground,” Güzin Kaya of Mimar Sinan University told the Hürriyet Daily News. 

Although there has been no detailed information regarding the project, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has published an introductory animation video that shows there will be several underground tunnels for vehicles while pedestrian sidewalks will be narrowed. 

“There is a traffic problem that can be solved with different measures. This kind of radical project is absolutely unnecessary,” architect Ömer Kanıpak said. 

“Taksim should be renovated as a cultural center. How can we rely on this project when the cultural values of the Beyoğlu district are being demolished?” said Tayfun Kahraman, the head of Istanbul Chamber of City Planners.