Istanbul Is Demolishing Three Skyscrapers to Preserve Its Iconic Skyline

Behind the Blue Mosque in Istanbul rise three stumpy luxury apartment buildings, recently completed and sold—only to be ordered demolished. The ruling from Turkey's highest administrative court to tear down the skyscrapers to protect the city's iconic views is remarkable, if a bit ill-timed.

The lawsuit began in 2011, long before the 3 skyscrapers of the Onalti Dokuz development were even completed. It's only now that the lawsuit has finally made its way to end of Turkey's legal system. The luxury apartments, which boast concierge service, pools, and even shoeshine parlors, already have owners who may not take kindly to this news.

Istanbul Is Demolishing Three Skyscrapers to Preserve Its Iconic Skyline

The Onalti Dokuz skyscrapers. Astay Real Estate

Who's going to pay all the compensation costs? A good question with no real answer. Lawyer Cihat Gökdemir, who brought the case, tells The Guardian he has one idea:

He says the municipal council approved the scheme with the votes of all parties. "I will divide the compensation to be paid pro rata to a number of council members and ask each of them to pay their share," he said. "I will sue them for squandering public funds."

The lawyer's comments touch on a real nerve in Istanbul, which has been criticized for poor city planning. A few years ago, UNESCO threatened to take the city off of its list of World Heritage Sites for failing to protect its historic sights. Preserving historic sights while letting a city continue to grow and evolve is a complex dance—one that Istanbul has been stumbling through, by many accounts. Entire neighborhoods in Istanbul are destroyed to make way for skyscrapers. The highly visible Onalti Dokuz development is symbolic of a a much larger problem; whether its demolition can be symbolic of a solution is something we'll have to wait to see. [Dezeen]

Top image: Avrupa