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Decision 41 COM 7B.52
Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey) (C 356)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.83, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Welcomes the re-routing of the Eurasia Tunnel approach road to the south of the Marble Tower, thus reuniting it with the Land Walls;
  4. Notes with concern, nonetheless, that the eight-lane Eurasia Tunnel approach road with two grade-separated interchanges at Yenikapı and Samatya, has had overall a severe impact on the southern edge of the historic peninsula, cutting off the city from the sea, and confirming the potential ‘severe negative impact’ assessed by the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission;
  5. Notes that the Yenikapı reclamation project has significantly changed the shape of the historic peninsula; and that a large white ‘Activity Tent’ is in course of construction, which taken together, impact on the historic form and some views of the silhouette of the peninsula;
  6. Regrets that the Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) for these projects and engagement with the Committee were only undertaken after approval had been given, as has been the case with all recent major infrastructure projects, since the Haliç metro bridge, thus leaving only minor opportunities for amendment;
  7. Also notes that a similar situation prevails for the already approved Planetarium and Istanbul City Museum within the Topkapı Cultural Park, and the Dardanelles 1915 Museum and four-storey performance hall, that have been submitted for approval; and requests the State Party to submit full details of all these projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Expresses concern that in spite of requests for action since 2004, and a request for the development of a long term conservation strategy, the corpus of Ottoman timber houses continues to deteriorate, with some being demolished as part of Urban Renewal Projects;
  9. While also welcoming the revision of the Management Plan, further notes that it still needs to be supplemented with full details of the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) to underpin its policies, inform the development of major projects and provide the basis of HIAs;
  10. Further expresses concern that although Urban Renewal areas can provide social benefits, no reassurances have so far been provided that the many areas now being renewed will not suffer loss of historic fabric;
  11. Notes furthermore that as the pace of change in the Historic Peninsula is resulting in a plethora of major projects, both for conservation and new construction that have the potential to cumulatively impact highly negatively on OUV, and considers that as an immediate, firm response is needed to these structural problems, also requests the State Party to:
    1. Define the attributes that convey the OUV of the property in the Management Plan and where necessary survey and document these attributes, before the Plan is approved,
    2. Commit to ensuring that all proposed or ongoing major projects which may affect the OUV of the property are subject to HIAs and notified to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before an irreversible commitment is made,
    3. Submit to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, details of current major new projects for the Planetarium and Istanbul City Museum within the Topkapı Cultural Park, the Dardanelles 1915 Museum and performance hall; and for current major restoration projects, including the rehabilitation of the Land Walls, the Bucoleon Palace, the reconstruction of the Hagia Sophia medrese, and the Zeyrek and Chora mosques,
    4. Devise an overall long-term conservation strategy for the Ottoman/vernacular timber buildings, based on documentation of what remains and an emergency plan to stem ongoing decay and loss;
  12. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Decision Code
41 COM 7B.52
Themes
Conservation
States Parties 1
Year
2017
State of conservation reports
2017 Historic Areas of Istanbul
Documents
WHC/17/41.COM/18
Decisions adopted during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee (Krakow, 2017)
Context of Decision
WHC-17/41.COM/7B.Add
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