EUROPA NOSTRA TURKEY FIGHTS FOR PRESERVING THE HISTORIC SKYLINE OF ISTANBUL
The Board of Europa Nostra Turkey, in their letter of 1 April 2012 to the Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Francesco Bandarin, urges the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to put pressure on the Turkish government to change the plan for the construction of a new metro bridge in Istanbul.The new suspension bridge would irreversibly damage the silhouette of the Golden Horn peninsula, one of the best preserved and most beautiful urban landscapes in the world. Europa Nostra strongly supports the appeal of its country representation in Turkey.
As the President of Europa Nostra Turkey, prof. Nuran Zeren Gülersoy writes in her letter: “The choice of a suspension bridge with tall pylons is a misfortune for the historic city. It will impair the historic town forever, if there is no intervention to change the project.”
Despite numerous protests both from Turkey and abroad, the construction of the controversial work continues. Opponents, however, believe that an acceptable solution to protect the cultural assets of the Golden Horn can be found. “Some Turkish structural engineers with experience in bridge construction […] expressed the possibility of using the already built supports to construct a bridge without pylons and cables,” mentions further Zeren Gülersoy.
Turkish authorities are also criticized that the construction of the bridge has been carried out without an international competition and there is little transparency and communication on the revised form of the project.
UNESCO has been trying to convince the City of Istanbul and Turkish government to adopt a different design already since 2006 and furthermore to complete the area management plan concerning heritage sites of the city. As Francesco Bandarin personally informed Europa Nostra, this matter will again be discussed at this year’s session of the World Heritage Committee in Saint-Petersbourg.