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The politics of perspective: subjects, exhibits, and spectacle in Taksim Square, Istanbul

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Istanbul’s Taksim Square has long been a place from which people have envisioned the city and the nation. As such, it has a long history of architectural interventions. This essay describes three new interventions as they appeared in July2018, two years after the failed coup attempt of 15July2016: a municipal complex commemorating the resistance to the coup attempt; the juxtaposition of a memorial photo exhibit and the void of the Atatürk Culture Center; and the rapid construction of the Taksim Mosque. Drawing on conceptualizations of landscape and scholarship on Taksim Square’s contested meanings, this paper utilizes the “politics of perspective” as an analytical lens to examine how authorities are attempting to create anew way of seeing in the city. I argue that this project has acquired a new character in the aftermath of the coup attempt, placing viewers within the landscape rather than outside it.
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Keywords: Istanbul; Turkey; landscape; politics; urban development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA

Publication date: August 9, 2019

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