A new initiative by the Erdoğan regime involving arbitrary intervention in a World Heritage site has provoked reactions even within Turkey.
The matter is of relevance to the Galata Tower, also known as the Tower of Christ. “The Galata Tower has survived since 1300. Unless someone stops them – I mean (Mayor) Ekrem İmamoğlu- the monument will not survive the AKP (Erdoğan’s party). These are the plans for its ‘restoration’. This is actual vandalism under the cover of modernism,” wrote Can Okar, an analyst who has left Turkey and went to Switzerland.
The photos published depict the models posted by the Erdoğan regime that show the interior of the monument after the end of the intervention. According to his remarks, the architectural intervention aims to level the medieval monument and to transform it into something like a hotel reception built in the ’90s.
“Heritage destruction reflects many aspects of bad governance, such as ignoring experts, breaking international rules and questioning practices,” Okar wrote. “I would also call it bad taste. This work is an aesthetic failure and at the same time, it is a sign of decline and a failure of the government. It is absolutely monstrous.”
The Galata Tower was built by the Genoese parish of Constantinople in 1348/9, then known as the Tower of Christ (“Christea Turris” in Latin) and was originally used as a bastion. The Genoese had acquired the right to build fortifications under an imperial golden bull issued in 1302. Part of the walls that were built around the tower is still visible today. After the Ottoman conquest and during the 16th century it was also used as a prison. It was used as a fire observation station until the end of the 1960s, while today it is one of the most important tourist attractions in the area.