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Decision : 34 COM 7B.102
Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey) (C 356)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 32 COM 7B.110 and 33 COM 7B.124 adopted at its 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) and 33rd (Seville, 2009) sessions respectively,

3. Also recalling the recommendations of the 2009 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, endorsed at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

4. Notes that the State Party has established a "UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Site Management Directorate" in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism;

5. Also notes that further progress has been made in the drafting of the Management Plan and the commitment of the State Party to complete the Management Plan by 1 February 2011;

6. Acknowledges the efforts in awareness raising on the scope and value of the World Heritage property among stakeholders and local communities and further notes the commitment of the State Party to incorporate these efforts within the framework of the Management Plan;

7. Notes moreover the efforts of the joint initiative with the Istanbul 2010 Agency and the National Timber Association and the Municipalitiy's Conservation Implementation and Control Bureau (KUDEB) regarding the preservation of the Ottoman timber houses and notes in addition the commitment expressed by the State Party to develop an holistic conservation or rehabilitation strategy or programme as part of the overall management plan;

8. Reiterates the recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions (2006, 2008, 2009) concerning development projects and expresses its concern that only minor modifications appear to have been made to urban renewal projects proposed within the framework of Law 5366 for the "Preservation by Renovation and Utilization by Revitalisation of deteriorated Immovable Historical and Cultural Properties" to incorporate conservation plans appropriate for the property;

9. Regrets that the State Party has not provided any details of the overall Traffic Plan as requested by the World Heritage Committee, and also expresses its concern about the potential impacts of increased traffic on the historic peninsula;

10. Also regrets that details of the Marmaray Rail Tube Tunnel and the Bosphorus Transition Tunnel Project for Motor Vehicle have not been provided as requested, and takes note of the commitment expressed by the State Party to continue to provide relevant information on the ongoing Marmaray Rail Tube Tunnel project and details and specific heritage impact assessments addressing potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, when available for the Bosphorus Transition Tunnel Project for motor vehicles, which is at an early design stage and has not yet been approved by the relevant bodies;

11. Welcomes the decision to cancel the additional building of the Four Season Hotel, but remains concerned about the prolonged exposure to weather conditions of the important archaeological remains also takes note that the State Party is committed and has proceeded to take up measures for their adequate conservation;

12. Considers that the proposed construction project for a metro bridge with towering cable-stay structures across the Golden Horn might have the potential to irreversibly impact on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 179 (b) of the Operational Guidelines;

13. Notes furthermore that an Independent Environmental Impact Assessment has been commissioned by the State Party in accordance with Decision 33 COM 7B.124, to be carried out using the methodology of the "ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties" document so as to ensure the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in particular on the setting of the Süleymaniye Mosque and on the overall skyline of the historic peninsula;

14. Requests the State Party to provide the results of this assessment which should also include alternative solutions and their impact assessments by 15 October 2010, to the World Heritage Centre;

15. Finally notes the ongoing discussions between stakeholders on the issue;

16. Urges the State Party to also implement these measures:

a) A comprehensive management plan is adopted after review by the Advisory Bodies to sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session and the 2009 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS joint reactive monitoring mission;

b) A process for rigorous heritage impact assessment is adopted for all large scale projects including transportation and other infrastructure projects, including urban renewal projects, to ensure that they do not adversely impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

c) The Ottoman style timber houses and the Theodosian walls, as key vulnerable attributes of the property, are protected and a programme for their conservation and rehabilitation agreed;

d) The retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value is adopted;

17. Finally requests the State Party to submit a detailed report on all the above-mentioned issues to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2011 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011, with a view to considering, based on the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment and in the absence of substantial progress concerning the other measures, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Conservation
States Parties: Turkey
Year: 2010
Decision Code: 34 COM 7B.102