ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

Building projects that have been burgeoning over the last four years have dramatically altered Istanbul's silhouette, creating a race over which company will construct the city's highest building.
İşbank's 181-meter İş Tower in Levent, which has been the highest building in the city for eight years, will soon lose its place to Kiler Group's 64-story and 261-meter Sapphire project, under construction in the same district.
Hema Holding's 50-story and 200-meter Diamond of Istanbul project and Regnum's 36-story and 187-meter residence project in Koşuyolu are two other extraordinarily high buildings to follow suit.
Istanbul has proven itself ready to compete against cities famous for their skyscrapers, such as New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. With all this new construction, the number of buildings in the city higher than 100 meters will soon be over 30.
The first skyscraper in Turkey was the Kızılay building in Ankara. The construction of the project started in 1959 and was completed in 1965. The building, which has 24 stories, has a height of 76 meters. The Karayolları building was Istanbul's first skyscraper.
The construction of skyscrapers has increased rapidly since then, picking up even more momentum in the 1990s. The construction of the 100-meter Maya Center in Şişli was completed in 1992, while the 158-meter Sabancı Center was completed in 1993.
However, the real surge in the construction of skyscrapers in Istanbul came at the beginning of the 2000s. The İş Towers, which have heights of 181 and 117 square meters, the 152-meter Polat Tower, the 154-meter Süzer Plaza, the 118-meter Tekfen Tower and the 136-meter Beybi Giz Plaza are some of the most prominent skyscrapers constructed shortly after the year 2000.
The real estate sector grew even further after 2005, with the construction of a series of towers in Istanbul, such as Koza Plaza, Sun Plaza, Kanyon, Kempinski Astoria and Tata Towers.
Currently, there are many skyscraper projects that are under construction and will be completed by 2010. The construction of Sapphire, Diamond of Istanbul, Garden Plaza and Trump Towers continues in Istanbul. Furthermore, Kazakh Construction Company Landmark, which bought Renault's building in Levent, is preparing to construct two 250-meters towers.
Levent, Mecidiyeköy, Zincirlikuyu, Maslak and Beşiktaş are the main places for skyscrapers in Istanbul. Companies previously built these high buildings as business centers, but many are now constructing residences as well. Teknik Yapı Uprise's Elite and Regnum Koşuyolu projects and Dumankaya's Vizyon project are among these residential towers. Skyport Residence, 212 Istanbul, Andromeda, Flora Residence, Selenium Residence and Mashattan are among other housing projects surpassing 100 meters.