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The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

istanbul
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The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

This project basically involves :

- All access roads to taksim to be closed to vehicular traffic and all vehicular traffic including the bus stops to be moved underground.

- leave the whole of Taksim Square as an empty paved or tiled area with only the existing statue remaining. The model does not show tram lines up to the statue either.

- Build a replica of the old barracks which was where Taksim park is now, a Russian/Indian type architecture with an enclosed courtyard where a few of the current trees of the park will remain. This structure to house cafes and shops.

- Only one access road up to the marmara hotel, but Kazanci hill next to the hotel closed to traffic.

- Gumussuyu boulevard trees to be uprooted to make space for the entramce.exit to underground traffic, with a narrow access road to buildings on each side and a single file pedestrian walkway on each side.

- Siraselviler street will be dug up to have another access/exit point for traffic with a very narrow pedestrian walkway on each side/

- Cumhuriyet Caddesi, tarlabasi Caddesi, mete Caddesi to be similarly dug up with all tree removed from the medians and sides, each with gaping holes for traffic and railings to protect the narrow pedestrian ways.

- Only other access to the square will be from the underground bus stops, taxi stops and metro stations.

- There are still no plans for the Ataturk cultural center.

The NGOs of the neighborhoods in the area and the Turkish Chamber of Architects are trying to fight but to no avail, because apparently the project was brought to fruition on orders of the Turkish Primeminister and no NGO or neighborhood was consulted.

This will reduce the importance of Taksim square and the area for celebrations, protests, rioters, tourists, lovers, boozers, people using it as a way station, stray cats and dogs, all birds except pidgeons, fast food places, street food stalls, pickpockets. police, adventurous pedestrians who enjoyed running red lights, Otherchelebi driving to his bank.

I also suspect that those of you planning to visit istanbul should be aware of the possible issues with extensive construction possibly starting some time this Summer and going on for a long time. So consider staying at Sultanahmet, Bosphorus, Nisantasi (could still mean heavier traffic) or even the Asian side.

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San Francisco...
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11. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

we are scheduled to stay at the titanic city hotel (taksim) in mid September. Will the noise and confusion and construction have begun by then?

Trondheim
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12. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

"I am glad I am getting my next visit in before any of these changes take place."

No, the prohibition of people sitting outside has been in force during most of 2011. It is really depressing, e.g. there used to be a lively square between the Galata Tower and the road down to Kariköy, now it is a dull and deserted area. We are suffering from more strict muslim rule, as has been the case in Sirkeci also, even if you still can sit outside and drink/eat there.

San Francisco...
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13. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

i'm getting a bad feeling about staying in taksim. it's only for 4 nights (2 are free) but still...don't want to be in a depressing lonely area on our only visit to Istanbul.

istanbul
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14. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

siouxxie, we live there, only five minutes walk from the square and will keep the forums informed of developments.

Other major columnists, even at pro-government newspapers are now joining the protest.

Yesterday, Hincal Uluc, at Sabah newspaper, compared the situation to the absurdity of a project to take the traffic at L'etoille in Paris underground with gaping holes on all twelve major streets leading to the square.

And, BR, this is not a political post at all. The project involves our common cultural heritage as much as city planning, tourism, human rights, ecology and aesthetics. We would be against it no matter what kind of belief or type of government imposed such a plan on its subjects (since plans cannot be imposed on citizens)

San Francisco...
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15. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

thanks, otherchelebi! I appreciate it, and i'm sure others do as well.

Ruhr Area, Germany
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16. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

I just want to agree you, otherchelebi, it´s not only a political post.

Beside the affection of the local inhabitants - of course the most important and salient point - many tourists will get affected too, anyway.

And even if it will only be a structural change of this well known and famous area around Taksim and Galata, regardless of any tendentious background, tourists will watch very carefully if this change will be an improvement or deterioration. You know, tourists are often a little nostalgic :-))! And tourists can vote with their feet (German proverb) and avoid this area if it will become dull.

I´m waiting eagerly for the first reports of German forumites who will stay this year in Beyoglu.

Edited: 08 February 2012, 10:10
Surrey, UK
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17. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

I also do not like change - and having been visiting Istanbul for 16 years now, I have to say I do not think the changes in Sultanahmet have been for the better. Yes the new pavements are far easier to walk on, soulless though they may be, but the traffic changes have been IMO a disaster.

The Square and the areas around the main sites that all the cruise ship tourists get bussed into in their hoards, is more open and easy - and so, from a 'turning Istanbul into a tourist Disneyland' then yes it has worked well. The traffic however has just re-located to other streets in the area, impacting on the people who actually choose to stay there and support the small hotels and restaurants.

Getting in and out of Sultanahmet is now a nightmare - and you can sit in traffic for over an hour (as we did last time) just trying to get off the main coast road into the Old City. Some of the nicer streets now have coaches and mini buses piling down them making eating outside on nice afternoons a far less pleasant experience. If it is meant to improve things for tourists, it is only the huge groups that are shipped in and out that have benefitted.

And now there are plans to make other areas just as soulless - and against the wishes of..... well just about everybody it seems.

I am so glad I visited Istanbul in the years I did - as it is changing and IMO as someone who loves the feel of the city as a regular visitor, the history, its uniqueness and its 'difference', not for the better. I am off now to sign the petition.

Mount Dora, Florida
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18. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

After the US passed the Americans With Disabilities Act business owners, city, state and federal governments and anyone who had a public access building had to make changes to make it possible for disabled people to enter the building and participate in whatever the building offered. We do not have ancient historic sights, but what older buildings we do have were modified to make it easier for the disabled.

I simply do not understand change that makes it more difficult for the disabled. I agree with GTTD that the changes in Sultanahmet have not been good. The non-stop traffic on tiny streets where people like to linger with a drink or glass of tea after dinner are being engulfed by non-stop tour buses until all hours of the night. As I try to walk around this long line of buses I constantly wonder if no one gave any thought to where the traffic would go if they banned it from going where it had been going. I always feel as if city planners must have thought it would just go away. It did not.

The original plan, when the area around Sultanahmet was re-paved was to make bikes and electric scooters available for hire at a nominal cost so disabled people could see the sights that they had now made easier to reach. The bikes are available for rent at a very nominal price, but there are still no electric wheelchairs or scooters.

I love the concept of a pedestrian street in thought. It does, however, make almost everything on that street very difficult for me to reach. I guess I just do not see anything positive from the changes at Taksim.

As GTTD observes, it is important to remember the city as it was when we fell in love with it.

istanbul
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19. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

Two days ago the website of Taksim Platformu, the lobby group of NGOs against the project came under hacker attack but was reconstructed because of frequent back-ups. Who would attack this site and why?

The Turkish minister of culture and tourism was interviewed yesterday where he said that we should all rejoice for the reconstruction of the old barracks and for moving the vehicular traffic below ground. Asked about comparison with Central Park in New York, he said that if such a historic building existed there, then New Yorkers would also love to have all the trees cut down and replaced by the historic building. He also promised that the bnew building will only house touristic and cultural outlets and will not be a shopping mall!!!!

Unfortunately Taksim Platformu has only 7000 signatures so far.

Brighton and Hove...
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20. Re: The New Absurd Taksim Project Gets Approved

Thanks very much OC for bringing this depressing spectre to our knowledge. The petition has gained a further 1,500 signatures since you posted earlier - opposition is growing, although who knows if it will do any good...