ISTANBUL - The present mayor of the Fatih district, Mustafa Demir, nominated again by the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, for the upcoming elections, said Eminönü should be a living place, both day and night.
Demir said it was only possible to think of residential, trade, tourism and culture areas once the peninsula, known as old Istanbul, was considered as a whole. "We have many ongoing joint projects with the Eminönü municipality," Demir said. The projects from now on will be managed by one main office and the municipalities think it will speed up the projects.
The number of people in Eminönü at night is 15,000 while during the day the number rises to 2 million. "The area seems deserted after work hours, so we want to rehabilitate the district," said Demir, who wants Eminönü to be alive, both day and night.
"Once the district is turned into an attractive place for people to visit, to have a meal and spend time, the dense population in Fatih will be transferred to Eminönü and the imbalance between day and night will disappear.
Demir said the Fatih Municipality would pass over the knowledge it had gained from the Sulukule, Zeyrek, Turkish Village and Fener-Balat renovation and construction projects. "Projects in the Eminönü district will be launched," said Demir, "Twenty percent of Fatih land has been announced as being under renovation. In each project different systems are used. Our aim is to create our imagined city by taking into consideration the expectations of the community."
Noting that the historic peninsula was where the main culture of the city of Istanbul lies, Demir said their job was to revive all those assets that are of international cultural heritage significance.
"Protecting cultural heritage and keeping it alive, fixing the population ratio between night and day, taking care of the historic peninsula and serving locals when Istanbul becomes the 2010 European Capital of Culture," are among our duties.
Trying to protect historic artifacts by keeping them away from structures that overshadow them is also an issue the Fatih municipality gives importance to. "Sometimes it is impossible to see the historic Süleymaniye Mosque no matter how close one gets to it," said Demir, adding there were structures whose structure had been corrupted and were disturbing to the eye.
The issue of the peninsula closing to traffic was being discussed, Demir said, and added the transportation problem would be better solved once old Istanbul was considered as a whole under one municipality. The plan is to expand the tram line and build pedestrian lanes.