A few days ago, the municipality of Istanbul announced that Istanbulites would choose between architectural projects for three major squares. Three projects for each square are ready for Taksim, Bakırköy and Salacak-Üsküdar. Now this is quite significant, since for years no one asked citizens about their opinion on public areas.
When things are bad for Istanbul, they are often worse for Beyoğlu. That has been the case at different points in the city's history, and certainly for the past decade, where the district has slowly but surely lost its glory. Modern institutions in Beyoğlu have been dropping like flies one after the other.
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
A small park with a historic Ottoman past in Beyoğlu's Sütlüce was seized from the Istanbul Municipality and transferred to the Education Ministry. AKP city council member Faruk Gökkuş said that locals in the area urgently needed a school, while CHP city council member Süleyman Solmaz said that the park was not big enough enough to house one.
There is a need for a segment that will wear the outfit shown at the podium in Hagia Sophia in neighborhoods. The soul and the spirit that has been infused into the AKP government has to have reciprocity in the streets. The sword at the Hagia Sophia mosque opening will turn into a stick if needed.
Mois Gabay writes: In my childhood years, I remember wandering in the streets of Beyoğlu alongside my father. Pera was living its last days. At the end of the street near the French Consulate, lay “Tailor Ragıp.” Mr. Ragıp was famous for making trousers that would fit you perfectly. Tailor Blum had trained him.
Mois Gabay writes: The Beyoğlu brands of our childhood no longer stand at their former venues. But just as the late Vitali Hakko once said, we ought to focus on whatever has remained from them, learn about them so that today’s Beyoğlu becomes meaningful for us.
Yiğit O. Özdemir writes: Today, what we know of as Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue was originally called Grande Rue de Pera. It is where decisions are made, especially when it comes to how and with which tools will “urban plunder” be managed. Mechanisms of consent and resistance are formed here. The victories and defeats of campaigns about urban space happen here.
Since the end of the 90s, many Istanbul district municipalities have been holding free movie showings in open-air theaters in the summer. Could open-air movie theaters come back amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
Three HDP deputies have slammed police over lining 13 people facing a wall for violating the curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "This is governing without a constitution and law. This is the ordinary fascism of the Presidential Palace's state, in which the people's wills are crushed daily," lawmaker Serpil Kemalbay said, while another deputy, Murat Sarısaç asked, "Are you apprehending prisoners of war?"
Surgical masks will now be mandatory on Istanbul's central Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue that leads to it, and a three-meters distance will be required between pedestrians. The district governor's office also said that the violation of both measures will be penalized by monetary fines.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has criticized citizens for flocking to Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue with complete disregard to social distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "All pictures from daily life need to support the daily coronavirus chart," he said, referring to the ministry's daily chart that includes the number of new coronavirus cases and the death toll.
Last Friday, I went out alone to explore the usually-lively districts of Şişli, Beşiktaş, Kadıköy and Beyoğlu. It was a surreal and startling journey. While the three hours or so I spent outside were spooky and unsettling, it was comforting to know that the city is taking coronavirus seriously.
Istanbul turning into a ghost town as Turks resort to social distancing due to rise of coronavirus cases
As the number of coronavirus cases in Turkey continues to rise daily, it is nearly impossible to see people on some of Istanbul's most crowded streets. Every time someone coughs or sneezes they are looked upon with anger, and shops are closing their doors one by one. Duvar correspondents Filiz Gazi and Hacı Bişkin report.