ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

A conference hosted by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality yesterday to determine an action plan for the future of Haydarpaşa Port on the Anatolian side of the city became the scene of heated debate about the area, leading many participants to leave the conference.
Many participants in the conference first objected to the methodology and then left the conference, saying it was being use to legitimize the use of Haydarpaşa as a dodgy source of income. The attendees of the conference were misinformed and its atmosphere was far from serious, the participants who chose to leave said.
The idea to transform the Haydarpaşa port, train station and its grounds -- an area of up to 1 million square meters -- into a tourism area first came to the public agenda in 2004 and drew many reactions from the Chamber of Architects' Istanbul branch, the Kadıköy Municipality and many other NGOs.
The municipality organized a conference yesterday of various representatives of institutions and NGOs, from the Naval Forces Commandership to the chief physician at Haydarpaşa Numune Hospital. The conference aimed to �evaluate the area with a multi-dimensional view, define a future vision with a common approach and prepare the action plans and strategies for this,� according to the municipality's invitation.

Leaving in name of science
The conference opened with a presentation by Özdemir Sönmez, an adviser to the municipality's Istanbul Metropolitan Planning Center, about the current situation of the Haydarpaşa project. After the presentation, moderator Oğuz Babüroğlu demanded that the attendees separate into smaller groups and discuss what should be protected in Haydarpaşa and what should not. However, Mücella Yapıcı and Eyüp Muhcu from the Chamber of Architects' Istanbul branch objected to Sönmez's presentation, saying it did not include the latest legal developments about the issue, as well as the social, economic, architectural and historical data needed to discuss any changes in the area.
There are decisions by the Protection Council of Natural and Cultural Assets about Haydarpaşa declaring the site a protected area, said Muhcu, the president of the chamber. This means overruling the decision, he said, adding that making decisions about Haydarpaşa demands a scientific approach and comprehensive data. �Staying here after this point will be an insult to science and the rules of my profession,� said Yapıcı, after she left the conference.
Emre Döner, representing Marmara University, added that the conference was for legitimizing Haydarpaşa's use as a dodgy source of income. Erdal Altulga, from the Architecture Foundation, left the conference as well, saying the methodology of the gathering did not allow a discourse putting law at the forefront. �I had participated in another conference like that and in the end I saw that conclusion report was not reflecting the ideas that we put forward in the conference,� he said.