Taksim Project brought us face to face once again with decision-making mechanisms that are unacceptable in a modern and democratic country. We were brought together to protect Taksim Square by the fact that the redevelopment project, which was presented to the public without taking any of the necessary scientific, technical or democratic steps, would lead to irreversible mistakes being made.
The Taksim Project was first announced by the Prime Minister before the elections. Following this the modification to the plan, presented to the public as a pedestrianisation project, was approved by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipal Council and the Istanbul 2nd District Regional Board for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. The modification to the project was announced with no regard for the universal values of town planning, without taking into account the science and techniques of transport planning and project design; furthermore it breached the decisions by preservation board and civil chambers. The project that was announced was in fact a “concretisation”, “dehumanisation” and “depersonalisation” project. With its tunnel entrances and retaining walls that threaten the safety of vehicles and pedestrians, and its corridor-style pavements that obstruct pedestrian access to the square, this project is also an “underground” project that destroys the integrity , both visually and as a public living space of a historical area.
New constructions, illegally added to the modification of the plan in the name of the restoration of the Military Barracks, are being imposed on the public. Gezi Park, the only green space in the centre of the city, a space that is open to everyone and to which everyone has a right, and the place we would take refuge in the event of an earthquake, is being taken from us; attempts are being made to concretise and commercialise the trees and the areas that we use to walk, meet and rest areas. Yet again the aim is to obtain power and the prestige of money through deceiving the public.
Taksim as a whole is a protected piece of our cultural heritage and the city’s most important public space. We demand that an immediate halt is called on the project, before it becomes an imposed fait accompli. We want Taksim to be developed with a more holistic approach, taking into account its social, historical, communal, cultural and environmental value, and using honest, transparent, participatory and democratic methods that conform to universal models and rules.
Taksim Square was the first piece of urban planning of the Republic period, and perhaps the most important. Taksim is the square of labour and democracy, the place where we celebrate all of our public holidays and festivals, and where we express our joy, our reactions and our demands for our rights.
We are all here together to protect Taksim Square.
Because Taksim belongs to all of us!