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Venues

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In this case we do not describe actual venues nor the main State and Independent organizations.

State and municipality

It is hard to say that the state or municipality has a definitive policy on contemporary architectural culture in Turkey. Even though in the long architectural history of Turkey, Seljuks and the Ottoman Empire had left a great number of masterpieces, in today's current architectural production it is hard to find challenging examples which contribute to the global contemporary architectural culture. According to the state, architectural production is a side service of the construction industry rather than a cultural field. Even the current Public Procurement Law is adjusted to select the contractor before the architectural design. Architecture is actually stuck between the Ministry of Public Works and Settlement and Ministry of Culture and Tourism, neither of them actually patronizes the architectural culture.

            The “longing for the past” is a common leitmotif in today's governing bodies and it is reflected in the architectural production as well. Imitation of the old historic civil architectural appearance or creating an artificial glory by mixing Seljuk and Ottoman periods’ architectural elements is common in many recently commissioned public buildings. Thus, most of the architectural cultural activities, organized by the municipalities or the state are usually framed within this perspective in which the history is highlighted and contemporary global architectural concerns are often ignored.

            In the last decade, the number of architectural competitions for public buildings is increasing which signifies an interest to a more up-to-date architectural production in the mind of the state or municipalities but these may be counted as individual attempts usually triggered by the Chamber of Architects of Turkey (CAT). However, Turkey's reputation is not good in the execution of the architectural competition winners. We still cannot speak about a clear and well defined viewpoint of the state towards architecture.

            The state, and especially the municipalities which have been selected from the same government party, has not had a fruitful relationship with the Chamber of Architects for many years. The chamber is famous for suing municipalities and opening law suits for big projects which bothers the state and the mayors for long years. This tense relationship also made the Chamber of Architects lose all its lobbying power in the government which is a pity for the architectural community in Turkey.

Independents and activists

Even though the construction industry is one of the leading industries of the economy in Turkey, and the building production is immense, it is hard to find solid criticisms on the quality of these productions. The most active resistance comes again from the Chamber of Architects' Ankara and Istanbul branches.

            The Human Settlement Association (İnsan Yerleşimleri Derneği) is the single and most active NGO in the architectural field, which was founded by architect Korhan Gümüş, who may also be easily called the most active (!) activist in urban and architectural issues. Similarly his colleagues Aslı Kıyak İngin and Derya Nükhet Özer who once worked together with Korhan Gümüş, may also be named as one of the few activists of the field.

            Tarih Vakfı (History Foundation of Turkey) was once one of the most influential NGOs which also operated in the urban and architectural fields, thanks to the small circle of architects and planners who were friends of the founders or members of the foundation. However, in the last couple of years, the foundation lost its power due to financial problems.

            On the other hand there are some neighborhood NGOs which were formed to resist some urban developments that would occur within their regions. Sulukule, Karanfilköy, Başıbüyük, Cihangir, Arnavutköy, Tarlabaşı, Fener-Balat are the most active regions where urban rehabilitation projects or large scale developments are threatening the presence of the residents.