ALARM BELLS RING FOR THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF ISTANBUL
Free (open access)
627 - 635
HULYA BERKMEN, SIRMA TURGUT
With a history that goes back 8500 years, Istanbul is located on top of the Bosphorus – a unique geographical beauty of the world that has hosted Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires for decades as a bridge between European and Asian continents. These unique privileges of the geography almost witness the history, with the identity that it steals from the history itself. Ancient Istanbul, known as the “Historical Peninsula”, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The most important prerequisite for being included in the list is to document the “outstanding universal value” of the entity. Istanbul meets four of the required criteria for being included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Unfortunately, the Historical Peninsula, as the precious core of Istanbul, is not properly “protected” based on scientific measures, although it does actually constitute an urban, historical and archaeological protected area. It possesses four World Heritage Areas inside its border, and there are Conservation Master Plans and Management Plans set in place for the area. Here, the mega-projects, investment decisions and applications that are being developed – ironically, with different plan decisions – are incompatible with the current protection policies and plan decisions most of the time. Consequently, this process threatens the World Heritage Sites in Istanbul today. This study elaborates upon the projects that are being conducted in the Historical Peninsula as a whole, looks in detail at the risks that they bring to the area, and demonstrates the dangers that the area is facing as a result of the Conservation Master Plans and Management Plan Decisions.
Istanbul, cultural heritage, cultural heritage impact assessment, World Heritage Area, outstanding universal value