On March 2nd, we went on a bus tour with Orhan Esen, who is an architect and a commentator. He showed us the construction sites in North and West Istanbul. And for the first time, we actually experienced the scale of these “mega”-projects. The tour was amazing and made me feel like I am experiencing the creation of history. We travelled to some mining sites that are left from the past industries, newly created suburban area, Gokturk, and the construction site of the Third Bridge. Orhan is very informative. He explained to us the history of the villages in these areas, how they transform from agricultural based to mining industry based and now to construction based. He also helped us to connect the dots between the construction of the Third Highway and Third Bridge, and between the Third Bridge and the construction of the second Marmaray, tunnel under the Bosphorus. The Third Bridge is an extension of the third highway. For constructing the Third Bridge, the government sends trucks of trucks of construction garbage and dumps them into the lakes. We actually witnessed lines of trucks along the mountain, waiting to dump out their sand and bricks. Because the construction of the bridge is massive, the government is running out of the land fillings. That’s why they started the construction of the second Marmaray.
I value this experience where we take an excursion to other sides of Istanbul. We were not visiting what has been left from the past as most of the tourists are doing. We were witnessing the construction of the future. Especially because these projects are highly controversial and undemocratic, it makes me wonder the future of them.
This bus tour is relevant to my research projects because Orhan mentioned that these construction projects are the major source for government corruptions. Media censorship is a main approach for the corrupted officials to bury what they have done to the state.