Duvar English 

A historic building in Istanbul’s neighborhood that up until recently housed the Istanbul Office of the Secretariat General for EU Affairs has been transformed into a restaurant and shisha cafe. 

The building was originally buit as a school belonging to the dwindling Greek Orthodox community, a once-robust part of Istanbul that now numbers less than 2000. 

“There couldn’t be a better example of spatial transformation that explains the country’s political transformation,” wrote urban sociologist Yaşar Adanalı on Twitter On July 19, posting before and after photographs of the building. 

Critics of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government argue that it has moved far away from the West, effectively abandoning its longstanding bid to become a member of the European Union. 

Urban activists have also criticized the manner in which many historic areas and buildings in Istanbul have been rapidly transformed into commercial spaces catering to tourists.