Political Economy of Renewal of Heritage Places in Turkey

Özçakır, Özgün
Bilgin Altınöz, Ayşe Güliz
Mignosa, Anna
The construction industry has often been used to boost the economy in time of crises and constitutes one of the most important profit making sector in Turkey. As a result of the current economic growth model which focuses on construction activities, urban spaces have been subjected to uncontrollable pressure in Turkey. Hence, developing new construction land and increasing construction rights in existing settlement areas have become common among local and central authorities in the last years. As priceless urban land for future interventions in the city centers, heritage places have captured the attention of local authorities, investors and real estate developers as areas to generate economic benefits through new interventions. In fact, heritage places are protected by strict laws, regulations and control mechanisms for their sustainability and conservation. However, starting from 2000s, due to the increasing pressure to intervene on heritage places, new policy instruments have been defined by the central government in order to overcome existing regulations. Among these recent instruments, the “Law No. 5366 on Renovating, Conserving and Actively Using Dilapidated Historical and Cultural Immovable Assets” – so called “renewal law”, put in force in 2005, has a special role and impact on the future of heritage places in Turkey. Thanks to this law, intervening on heritage places has become easier. Thus, it has been a powerful policy instrument to be used by local authorities in order to regenerate and transform registered cultural and natural conservationsites focusing on economic benefit, regardless of the sites’ conservation and sustainability. However, the “renewal law” has been accompanied by problems related to the declaration of sites with different characteristics – cultural or natural – as renewal areas, the unclear aims of renewal projects, and the lack of participatory processes. Despite the existence of these problems and, even, legal cases against renewal areas and projects, the law is still used as a policy tool to intervene on heritage places in Turkey. These issues call for a critical assessment of the “renewal law” as a policy instrument. This paper aims to illustrate and assess the impact of the law on heritage in Turkey from the perspectives of both conservation and political economy. Looking at all the “renewal areas” that have been declared since the introduction of the law, the paper discusses the problems resulting from the implementation of the law, the characteristics of renewal areas, the spatial and temporal distribution of “renewal areas”, the actors and stakeholder involved, with the aim of answering the following questions: - How is the renewal process governed at central and local levels? - When are renewal areas declared, and where are they located? - What are the general characteristics of renewal areas? - Who are the actors and stakeholders involved in renewal processes? - What is the current state of renewal areas?


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Citation Formats
Ö. Özçakır, A. G. Bilgin Altınöz, and A. Mignosa, “Political Economy of Renewal of Heritage Places in Turkey,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 221–250, 2018, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/39884.