Istanbul’s Cultural Property in Danger of Destruction

Posted on June 28, 2010

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Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review reports that UNESCO might not just remove Istanbul from the World Heritage List, but may also it straight to the List of World Heritage in Danger.

“UNESCO officials were shocked when they saw that so many buildings under protection were either damaged or gone,” architect Korhan Gümüş, the urban-practices director for the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture agency, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview this week.”

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“There is a major lack of communication between state institutions,” said architect Gümüş. “If you search for a responsible party, they can point you in 50 different directions but none takes responsibility for what happened.”

Others are more charitable about the country’s preservation efforts. “Turkey has an immense number of sites to be protected and it is not easy to manage them all. If you travel around Anatolia, you see an archaeological site every 45 kilometers,” tourism expert Saim Turhan told the Daily News. “Turkey is doing its best, and it is not an easy task.”

Whether Istanbul has done enough to keep its historical sites on the World Heritage List will be determined next month during the UNESCO meetings in Brazil.

Read the full article, Istanbul teeters on brink of UNESCO’s troubled list at Hürriyet Daily News online.

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