Avcı said the rumors that the AKM, a contested arts and culture venue located at the heart of Istanbul’s Taksim Square, would be turned into a shopping mall are “not true.”
“There are rumors that the AKM will become a shopping mall. That’s not true. A new opera house will be built there,” he told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Oct. 18, adding that efforts to develop the project have started.
“It is evident in the Istanbul Technical University report [on the building’s structure] that no good will come from it. Even if there was no report, one could see it with the naked eye. The president has already announced it. There should be an opera house that suits Istanbul. We’ve started efforts on that,” Avcı said.
Located in Taksim Square, the AKM has sat unused for the past eight years. The center, which is one of the focal buildings representing republican-era Turkish architecture, has been at the heart of a heated debate since government officials announced intentions to demolish or renew it.
Avcı said there was a “legal stalemate” concerning the building, adding that it was in a “seriously dangerous condition.”
He also complained that it was “not understandable” to perceive the building as symbolic.
“Is the architecture of it an authentic structure? No. It might be understandable due to the events that have taken place there. From time to time there are protests in front of the building, demanding that it be protected. But that is not enough to make such a building a historic symbol,” Avcı added.