Keywords: War, Conflict, Restoration, Preservation, Conservation, Destruction, Gentrification, Urban planning, Transformation, construction, Dis-Possession, Dislocation, Forced Removal, Heritage
There is a major construction program, being undertaken in the past decade, named “urban ransformation” by the ruling government. As the transformation moved forward, it turned out this building activity was intended for profit and not for better urban environments. The
construction was also a social engineering construct, causing people lose their native homes during the demolition process (dispossession) to make ground for new costlier housing to be bought by the rich.
While this is one dimension of the story; the more severe dimension is the fact that there is an unending clash in between the Turkish Military and the Kurdish PKK in the past 40 years. Combat previously took place in the mountains; this last confrontation was unfortunately conducted within the city, leaving civilians in extreme danger. The destructive battle fought with heavy weapons including tanks, cannons led to rigorous destruction in the solely residential areas. The area, where residential urban habitat and historical heritage were significantly
damaged after the clashes, is at the moment sealed off and clearance of post-war debris has started. The demolition, regularly carried out by heavy construction equipment, was indirectly accomplished through war. The locals will be displaced towards the outskirts of the city where
they can only afford a much cheaper flat in an inhumane gigantic highrise compound.
- Born 1965, Murat Germen has a M.Arch degree from MIT, USA, where he went as a Fulbright scholar and received AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal for academic excellence.
Works as a professor of art, photography and new media at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. Having many papers, photo series published on architecture / photography / art / new media in various publications; he has lectured at tens of conferences internationally.
His oeuvre focuses on impacts of urbanization and gentrification, civic rights and participatory citizenship, documentary sustainability of local cultures, human devastation of nature. Has two monographies, one published by Skira (Italy) and the other by MASA
(Turkey). Has opened/joined over eighty inter/national solo+group exhibitions. More than 300 editions of the artist’s several artworks are in personal collections of eminent art collectors inter/nationally, in addition to several that are in Istanbul Modern, Project Elgiz
Museum of Contemporary Art, Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń (Poland), Benetton Foundation’s Imago Mundi collection (imagomundiart.com)
Full text (PDF) p. 327-334