Negligent restoration of historic Galata Tower sparks controversy

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PHOTO: Birgün daily

Video footage circulating on Turkish social media on Thursday showing the destruction of the inner walls of the medieval Galata Tower in İstanbul has led to public outrage, according to a report by Deutsche Welle Turkish service.

Mahir Polat, an İstanbul municipal official responsible for cultural heritage, posted the video on Twitter, announcing the dispatch of technical units to the scene to halt the work and assess the damage. He later announced that the units were not allowed in.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also denounced the restoration.

“When the Galata Tower was transferred from the İstanbul Municipality to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, we had said they would betray history,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “Stop this betrayal disguised as restoration immediately.”

Murat Ongun, a municipal spokesperson, announced that they were filing criminal complaints against all those responsible.

In response Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Ahmet Misbah Demircan said his ministry was also concerned about the footage and that the “necessary interventions were made.”

The site was transferred from the opposition-held İstanbul Municipality to the ministry in recent months. The restoration was launched in an attempt to turn part of the historic tower into a museum.

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