IMM has completely renovated Beyazıt Square, which has a very important place in the political-historical memory of Istanbul and Turkey. On the 99th anniversary of the Liberation of Istanbul, the opening of the square, which was once again served by the people of Istanbul; CHP Group Deputy Chairman Engin Altay, CHP Deputy Chairman Seyit Torun and IMM President Ekrem İmamoğluIt was held with the participation of Emphasizing that they continue to work effectively at every point of the historical peninsula except Beyazıt Square, İmamoğlu said, “I told my friends, 'When we give the historical peninsula its identity, we will give Istanbul its identity.' There are 3000 years of identity here. Having served as the capital of three empires, with almost 200 years of witnessing, we have a history of democracy right in these areas. Our Republic has seeds, it has ideas," he said.
On the 99th anniversary of the Liberation of Istanbul, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) completed the renovation work of Beyazıt Square, the historical area of the city, which has been going on for years. Renovated Beyazit Square; CHP Group Deputy Chairman Engin Altay, CHP Deputy Chairman Seyit Torun and IMM President Ekrem İmamoğluIt was opened to the use of Istanbulites with the participation of . In the opening ceremony, respectively; İBB Deputy Secretary General Gürkan Alpay, İmamoğlu, Altay and Torun and former Minister of Culture Ercan Karakaş made speeches.
İMAMOĞLU: “REPUBLIC ELECTED THIS BROTHER AS MAYOR OF THIS ANCIENT CITY”
Pointing out that Beyazıt Square is an important point for him as well, İmamoğlu noted that the first place he was curious about when he was a child was the historical building of Istanbul University. Reminding that he studied at Istanbul University in the following years, İmamoğlu said, “The Republic has such a deep area of opportunity; He chose this brother of yours, this fellow of yours, 36 years after that date, as the Mayor of this ancient city. This is something tremendous. This is only possible in the Republic of Atatürk. Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, his very valuable comrades in arms and Independence War, who gave us the chance and opportunity to live in this beautiful city, by saving our beautiful Istanbul, which was occupied for almost 5 years, from re-occupation, by fighting for its great independence. On October 6, in the presence of all of you, I convey my feelings of gratitude to our martyrs who lost their lives in the struggle of the war and to all our deceased veterans. May their souls rest in peace."
“I HAVE A DREAM OF A HISTORIC PENINSULA…”
Saying, “It is possible to preserve and develop this beautiful geography, which increases the sense of belonging, not only experiences, but also those experiences and witnessing the history of life," said İmamoğlu, adding that they have witnessed the deplorable state of the historical peninsula, where they have visited almost every street since they took office. Emphasizing that successful works have been carried out for the region in the past and giving examples, İmamoğlu said, “Have nothing good been done? Of course it's done. Here is the restoration of Sultanahmet, restoration of Fatih Mosque, Topkapi… Thank you, done. Now we have the restoration of Beyazıt Mosque, which was completed by the ministry. Thank you. The recovery of this area, together with the mosque, added a tremendous beauty. However, the historical peninsula is in very bad condition. What should have been the historical peninsula? Like a trinket, reflecting its incredible beauty in every way… I imagine the historical peninsula: from the land walls to Eminönü, from Balat to Yenikapı or from Ayvansaray to Sarayburnu, from Beyazıt Square to Sultanahmet Square, from Cerrahpaşa to Kocamustafapaşa. I am imagining a historical peninsula where hundreds of thousands of people visit at the same time as tourists at every point. This is such a place. This is a place with incredible historical depths for 3000 years. In that respect, we set out to realize such a dream and to reveal a vision for the future.”
“WE DO EFFECTIVE WORK IN EVERY POINT OF THE HISTORICAL PENINSULA”
Emphasizing that they continue to work effectively in every part of the historical peninsula, except Beyazıt Square, İmamoğlu gave detailed information about the works. Expressing that he said to his colleagues, "When we give the historical peninsula its identity, we will give Istanbul its identity," İmamoğlu said:
“There is 3000 years of identity here. Having served as the capital of three empires, we have a history of democracy with almost 200 years of testimony, and right in these areas. Our Republic has seeds, it has ideas. Of course, there is Istanbul, which was entrusted to our nation by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453. Of course, there is Istanbul, which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk saved and entrusted to us by saving this place from the occupation for 5 years. But at the same time, we set out by preserving and developing Istanbul, which has been entrusted to us with all its historical past, by saying, 'We want to show the world the most beautiful place in the world by putting it on a showcase, and to invite and attract millions of tourists to this very point of this city'. This is a deep vision. This includes correcting the mistakes made in Sulaymaniyah. There is the transformation of bad, derelict areas into their true historical identity. And at the same time, to turn this historical peninsula of Istanbul into its true identity by dealing with very bad buildings, expropriating if necessary, giving their due if necessary, taking legal actions if necessary and demolishing them; I think that it is the necessity of being worthy of the people who we call 'our ancestor', 'our ancestor' and entrusted to us.”
“WE SHOULD BE A COUNTRY OF EQUAL AND FREE CITIZENS”
Saying, “We must be a country of equal and free citizens,” İmamoğlu said, “We must succeed in being a fair, competitive society where people live together in peace and make their guests feel that peace, that happiness, that depth, that cultural diversity, that ethnic diversity. We can make them feel fully with these kinds of living spaces. We have everything. Please let's do this together. Let's bring Istanbul to the value it truly deserves. '150 Projects in 150 Days' is a campaign at the center of just such a process. This beautiful historical square, Beyazıt Square, with all its beauties around it, wish good luck to our citizens, all guests of Istanbul, tourists and the whole world.”
TORUN: “ISTANBUL GETS THE SERVICES IT DESERVE ONE BY ONE”
Speaking before the ribbon cutting, CHP Deputy Chairman Torun also stated that they are proud of İmamoğlu's work in Istanbul and said, “There was a lot of black propaganda before the election. But it has been seen that the people of Istanbul are getting the services they really deserve, one by one. The neglected and delayed services of Istanbul are coming back. This makes us proud. You are taking firm steps towards making Istanbul a world city by meeting the primary needs of the citizens, not by such crazy projects. This square, of course, has witnessed many historical events. I believe that it will make a very important contribution to Istanbul tourism. Really, let Istanbul come to the place it deserves and it is coming. These services of yours are not only in Istanbul, but also in Turkey, in many regions of our country. That's why we congratulate you. We congratulate your team,” he said.
ALTAY: “ISTANBUL WILL COME TO BE CALLED 'AH BEAUTIFUL ISTANBUL' AS IT WAS IN THE 70'S”
In his speech, Altay, CHP Group Deputy Chairman of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, said, “As the CHP Group Deputy Chairman and Istanbul deputy, I am a politician who is proud of keeping the promises we made to the citizens, with his head held high in the squares and streets of Istanbul. Thank you so much for touring. Of course, we also have complaints. We have business in Ankara. We are Istanbul MPs. We can't keep up with the openings. We want to live and taste these beauties in place. We complain about not being able to reach all of them. By the way, the gentleman says, 'Where is Mr. Ekrem' in Istanbul. I said to myself; You can see them in Çatalca, distributing diesel and seed wheat with the farmers. You can see people in the Basilica Cistern. Sir, you will see the castle walls as you clean up the garbage and reveal that history again. You see people on the subway. But they were obsessed with 'Where does he eat? What is he doing? They have no other problems. We did not and will not do politics by criticizing the past. We would like to thank in advance all the mayors who have served Istanbul, past and present. Cities are known for their subways and squares and become famous. I hope that while we are continuing our construction of 10 subways at the same time, I was touched by the opening of the last land walls. It is a skill, ingenuity to make a date out of the garbage, and it deserves a compliment for it. The city trustee of Istanbul will carry this Istanbul, which was left to us by Fatih Sultan Mehmet and left to us by Atatürk, to the point it deserves. Having saved Istanbul from those who betrayed him, he will present an Istanbul to Turkey. I thank him very much. I say don't miss it. These services will continue and Istanbul will be called 'Oh beautiful Istanbul' as it was in the 70s.”
KARAKAŞ: “İSTANBUL IS BECOMING A CITY TO LIVE IN”
Former Minister of Culture Ercan Karakaş made a short speech before the ribbon cutting. Noting that he visited İmamoğlu shortly after he was elected as the President of İBB, Karakaş said, “I had been to this place before the visit. I took my grandchildren out. They had never been here. When I entered, I was truly amazed at this square, the Beyazıt Square I used to know. And in a terrible ruin, in the slum, there were several construction machines. Hundreds of cars were parked haphazardly. I shared this with him, I said, 'Kenter really becomes a city with its squares. I know you have projects but let's prioritize here. Let's save this historic square.' He succeeded. He accomplished not only this, but many other squares as well. Istanbul is becoming a city to live in. Let's all know the value of this city together. And with this energy of our president, a livable Istanbul is formed and will be formed. Good luck,” he said.
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE SQUARE, WHAT HAS BEEN DONE?
The previous IMM administration started the Beyazıt Square renewal project in July 2017 and planned to finish it in March 2019. IMM, headed by Imamoglu, has accelerated the process to return the historical square, which it had been stopped by the previous administration, to its former glorious days. The preliminary project, which was submitted to the Conservation Board in December 2019, was approved on June 24, 2021. As a result of the works that gained momentum as of September 2021, 40 thousand square meters of pedestrian density and infrastructure manufacturing and flooring of a living area were completed in a short time like 1 year. The parking lot next to Ordu Street has been removed. Vehicle access to the square is restricted. The area, which is one of the most important historical textures of Istanbul, which has been badly degraded and almost completely turned into a parking lot, has been brought back to Istanbul as a square. Thus, Beyazıt Square, known as the first square of Istanbul, including the Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican periods, turned into a square that is accessible to everyone, meets all needs, preserves and keeps the historical texture alive.
HISTORICAL CINARALTI AND ASHTRAY COFFEES ARE REVISED
As part of the renovation works, urban furniture was designed for Beyazıt. Historical Çınaraltı and Küllük coffee buildings were brought back to the city. In the ground texture of the area, instead of flat stones, slightly indented and protruding stones, which are suitable for the historical square and reminding of its structure in the Ottoman period, were used. Social meeting areas in the square were designed at different scales. The landing stairs of the square, which has a place in the city's memory, which were destroyed in 2017, were rebuilt in accordance with the original. Thus, the urban continuity of the square was ensured. Within the scope of the “Beyazit Square Urban Design Project”, fluid entrance areas from 15 different urban axes were defined to the area and the integration of the square with the city was ensured. The pedestrian paths leading to the square have been renewed with viewing terraces where monuments can be watched and their beauty and importance can be better perceived. While all the trees were protected with a dynamic renovation project, resting areas were designed to sit and breathe under these trees.
TO THE EXISTING 174 TREES, 140 MORE TO BE ADDED
Major improvements have been made in transportation to the square. The disabled access ramp, which reaches Beyazıt Square from the Grand Bazaar Square, continues in front of the Istanbul University gate and reaches Besim Ömer Street. In the main square, which has a pedestrian area of approximately 14 thousand square meters, 10 resting terraces and the “Courtyard Academy”, which can also be used as 3 open classrooms, were created. A total of 16 existing trees, 174 of which are registered monument trees, were preserved in the project. Within the scope of the project, 140 new trees will be planted. When the project is completed, there will be a total of 334 trees in the square.
QUALIFIED ARTISTS ATTENDED WORK
Fine workmanship was made at every point of Beyazıt Square, with the manual labor of many masters and artisans. In the implementation of the architectural project, all materials and productions requiring different workmanship were worked with the masters of their craft. All the materials used in the square, where the architectural details are solved down to the finest details, have been specially selected. Countless craftsmen and craftsmen, from stonemasons to sherbet makers, from marble masters to carpenters, from bricklayers to moulders, from carders to plasterers, took part in the revitalization of Beyazıt Square. Architects, engineers, urban designers, historians, landscape architects, craftsmen and craftsmen worked hand in hand to bring Beyazıt Square back to Istanbul.