Taksim Square Istanbul – The Big Dig

Since three weeks the Center of Istanbul dives into a chaotic situation as the result of a huge construction site at Taksim Square (Taksim Square is the traffic artery in the center and symbolizes the heart of modern Istanbul).

In the government’s vision for the new Taksim Square, the front of Gezi Park would be replaced by a building in the style of  Taksim Artillery Barracks at Late Ottoman Empire with a courtyard, while the back would be reduced to a small patch of grass and a mall. The streets running through and around Taksim Square would be paved over and replaced by deep underground tunnels, increasing the volume and speed of traffic as vehicles exit the tunnels and displacing passerbys and dissimilars.

The plans for Taksim Square were never subjected to public scrutiny, according to a statement by the Taksim Platform. Civic organizations and residential groups had no chance to give input or ask questions about the project, even though it is being funded by their tax money. (read more about Taksim Square construction at Green Prophet by Julia Harte)

We hightly recommend to watch The Big Dig by Ephraim Kishon to understand whats going on in Istanbuls Center (5 Min extract of the movie):

A comedy which depicts the madness of bureaucracy through a municipality’s reaction to the actions of a lunatic.

A lunatic (Blaumilch) who has escaped from an asylum steals a compressor and proceeds to open up a main street and traffic artery in Tel Aviv (Allenby Street).

Rather than question his actions, the police as well as city officials assume he is operating under the municipality’s orders and aid him as much as they can.

Complaints from local residents, whose lifes become a living hell due to the noise and traffic jams, lead to infighting between city departments. To hurry up the work before the elections, the city then sends armies of construction workers and heavy equipment to help the lone compressor, turning a mere annoyance into a disaster.

When the city realizes that they are destroying a street without any plans or goals it is too late, and the end is chaotic in the extreme.

A Film by Ephraim Kishon, 1969

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Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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