Erkan Kambek
Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Supervising professor Gülsün Tanyeli

Western Restoration Approaches and Practices in Turkey

As most of the architectural and art history approaches in Turkey are based on Western theories, restoration theory is also highly influenced by the Western point of view. Of course, Turkey is faced to Western way of life since late 17th century when the first movement of “modernization” started within the Ottoman army. However, the geographical, historical and cultural background of Turkey creates a challenge for the Western theories and local practices.
Nowadays this challenge could be easily observed while having a short walk on the narrow streets of historical center of Istanbul. On the one side, there are big construction-sites for monumental buildings with nice scaffolding covered with drawings printed out on vinyl, on the other side vernacular architecture neighborhoods are neglected or subjected to real estate developers with several gentrification projects. Actually there is no surprise that this confrontation leads to conflict, since the legislation is mostly designed by specialists, however practical executions are somehow run by real estate developers or profit oriented construction firms.
In this paper a brief history of restoration in Turkey will be given from legislative point of view, and then short observations on the formal education of conservators will be made. After this general outline of the situation in restoration in Turkey, the paper will try to trace the development of conservation and restoration roots back in classical period of Turkish Islamic Ottoman architecture starting with a well-known architect Sinan “the Great”.
The challenge mentioned in this paper is evaluated as an opportunity for the future of the conservation and restoration field which can draw inspiration from the geographical, historical and cultural background of Turkey.