Criticism mars opening of Turkey’s first metro bridge

Criticism mars opening of Turkey’s first metro bridge :A new metro bridge opened in İstanbul on Saturday despite the fact that UNESCO’s World Heritage Center and the Turkish committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) have both expressed concerns over its design, which they assert damages the city’s silhouette.

Turkey’s first metro bridge crosses the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosporus that runs along the northern edge of İstanbul’s historical peninsula, and appears to be situated near the Süleymaniye Mosque when viewed from one end of the span.

Construction of the bridge was approved in 2005. A year later, the World Heritage Center released a statement that warned against the danger of the bridge’s design on the historical peninsula and the Süleymaniye Mosque, and expressed disappointment that no application had been submitted to the World Heritage Center for approval of the bridge.

Speaking to BBC Türkçe, Professor Cevat Erder, a board member of the Turkish committee of ICOMOS, said: “There is no reason to be satisfied with the bridge. We exerted efforts to protect İstanbul’s profile by prohibiting the construction of the bridge. But we have apparently not been successful.”

The bridge, using the latest in cable-stayed technology, is expected to ease public transport – -one of the city’s major problems — and shorten travel time.

Nevertheless, Professor Zekiye Yenen, a member of the Preservation Board of first-degree Cultural and Natural Assets in İstanbul, which operates under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, criticized the construction of the bridge, not least because she thinks that it does not go well with the Süleymaniye Mosque. “Both as an architect and a city planner, I cannot find words to describe the Süleymaniye Mosque. There is no need to design another building that competes with it,” she said.

Furthermore, Yenen commented on the uniqueness of İstanbul’s silhouette: “It has no other in the world. İstanbul’s shores are 100 kilometers from Gebze to Tekirdağ. But the city’s identity is represented by this part of İstanbul that is less than three kilometers. This is a fabulous logo beyond the reach of anyone.”

Answering a BBC Türkçe question on whether there was no other choice when designing the bridge, Yenen said: “There can be no such thing as despair in design. We would be more correct to say that not enough research was conducted.”

The bridge was opened to use after Saturday’s grand opening ceremony attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, İstanbul Major Kadir Topbaş, and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul branch chairman Aziz Babuşçu, among others.

Criticism mars opening of Turkey's first metro bridge

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