Modernization in general first emerged in countries along the Atlantic coast of Europe. However, modernity is never an isolated phenomenon, rather it is intertwined with events under transformation in other parts of the world. The main subject of this paper is the modernization process experienced by Istanbul, a city in possession of a rich and colorful history , which acted as the premier capital for three empires. Istanbul underwent a period of transformation lasting 150 years, from the end of the 1830s to the second half of the 1980s. The dynamics of Istanbul’s transformation may be contextualized within the larger modernization process experienced by the Ottoman Empire. The process created never before seen changes in four different dimensions.

The first dimension is related to the economy. This dimension, which is related to the rise of capitalism, was created by the Industrial Revolution. It began with a certain kind of production based on energy derived from fossil fuels. In the societies in which the Industrial Revolution first occurred, products became commodities, labor became paid work, the liberal understanding of property was institutionalized and a capitalist regime of accumulation was created through the opening of economic relations throughout the world.

The second dimension of modernization consists of modernity’s approach to information, art and ethics. These three areas became autonomous in relation to one another. Each field still bears the claim of universality. People believed they could make accurate observations of both natural and the social phenomena; therefore, based on these observations, it became possible to establish the natural and social sciences. Each made a claim to universality. Modernity’s claim to universality reveals itself not only in the field of knowledge, but also in the fields of ethics and law.

The third dimension of modernization was formed by the birth of the individual, now freed from the bonds of traditional society and capable of directing themselves with their own mind. These individuals now demanded freedom. They were able to change their actions by thinking about the consequences. They have become civilized individuals, with an increased capacity, not confined to a particular area. These individuals can place themselves into the historical development with increased mobility. They are viewed as equals in a larger social area, going beyond localness. That is, they are involved with civic responsibility in the societies to which they belong.

The fourth dimension of modernity is made up by the emergence of a new organizational structure of societies. In this type of economic activity, in a society of individuals who think about their own deeds, nation-states emerged as a new form of social organization. Temporal and spatial distances that made the existence of individuals meaningful increased.

As experienced in societies on the Atlantic coast of Europe, modernity enabled rapid technological development and an increase in production. However, when a dynamic economy has such a form of capitalist accumulation, the domestic market of the nation-state over time becomes constricted and a tendency towards foreign expansion and controlling the outside world by transforming it is revealed. When the modern world’s claim to universality in its approach to information and law is added to this, the potential of modernized nation-states to transform outside societies also increases.1

1a- The front of the medallion minted for the memory of the proclamation of Tanzimat Edict (Istanbul Archeology Museum)

1b- The back of the medallion minted for the memory of the proclamation of Tanzimat Edict (Istanbul Archeology Museum)

Growing out of where the nation-states began, historically modernity was first experienced within a certain area of Europe. Triggering the transformation of countries around it, at the end of eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century modernity caused Europe to be seen as a “modernity project”. When the modernity project spread and started to transform the world, the Ottoman State began to have a share in this transformation. The military failures, on the one hand, and the emergence of nation-states from within the Ottoman territory, on the other, were the precursors of modernity’s effects reaching the Ottoman State. These effects intensified in the aftermath of the Baltalimanı Trade Agreement, signed with the British in 1838 and the Tanzimat of 1839.

The 150-year story of Istanbul’s modernization will be described in this article in three periods. The first period, called “timid” modernization, covers the years between 1838 and 1923. This period indicates the unsure attitude towards modernization taken by the Ottomans. However, in the second period, between 1923 and 1948, the commitment to modernity was bolder than before. During this period, the implementation of a full “radical modernity project” can be observed. The third period comprises the years between 1948 and 1980. “A populist modernization” was experienced during this period with the transition from a single-party regime to a multi-party regime. The fourth period commenced after 1980, during which the modernity project started to depreciate and postmodernist implementations started to develop. However, this period will not be a subject of this article.


In general, the founders of the Ottoman modernization story based modernity on the decisions of the sultan and the newly formed state bureaucracy on how to rearrange the state organization. However, within the framework of this article, the acceleration of the modernity process will be considered according to the effects of two channels. Thus, the modernization story had to be based on institutional regulations directed by these two different channels, which focused on both governmental organizations and economic developments. The first of these was the opening of the Ottoman State to international trade and the arrival of the capitalization process. The second was the institutional reforms and infrastructure projects developed by the country’s central government. This process was a top-down modernization, driven from the center. However, when the details of such a top-down modernization history are followed, there are considerable “contextual dependencies”. It would be accurate to conceptualize this within the concept of multiple modernities.

Political and Economic Dynamics

The signing of the English trade agreement in 1838 was a milestone in the acceleration of the capitalist development and the opening of the empire’s economy to foreign markets. With the Tanzimat Edict, promulgated a year later, in 1839, and the Islahat Edict in 1856, members of society were assured that they would be given individual rights as well as property rights and equality by the state. These regulations were constitutional in nature; at the same time, these firman texts can be read as providing assurance for the accumulation of capital processes in terms of a strict economic logic. A further step in this direction was made by enacting the Ottoman Land Code in 1858 and by approaching the liberal understanding of property. It is clear that these regulations were affected by the modernity project, and that these measures were following this path. However, the result redesigned the societies’ institutions under local conditions rather than a direct importation of foreign capitalist process. It is for this reason that the implementations are called “timid modernity”. It can be seen that forms of entrepreneurship started to emerge in the 1860s. Albeit small in number, banks and corporations were established. While the first steps towards the modernization of the economy were made by non-Muslim Ottoman subjects, after the 1880s entrepreneurs from the Muslim population started to follow suit.

2- The view of Sarayburnu from Tophane: Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia (Yadigar-ı Istanbul, from the archives of M. Hilmi Şenalp)

It can be said that the most important turning point for the transformation of the traditional Ottoman government order was the abolition of the janissaries in 1826. The abolition of the janissary corps not only affected the army; but the central institution of the Ottoman administration was also eliminated. The growing channels of traditional bureaucracy disappeared. There was now a serious vacuum for the re-establishment of the state mechanism and the establishment of educational channels to train the cadres necessary for the reorganization of the army. Nevertheless, it was impossible for this vacuum to be filled immediately, or even in a short time, with modern institutions. This was because the qualified and available manpower was insufficient and state affairs were not at the level required by the concept of the modern state for establishing the new regime; as a result the Ottoman Empire embarked on a significantly context-dependent quest which developed over time through trial and error. Overseeing the establishment of ministries, their diversification and staffing with qualified cadres required time.

3- The regulation for the construction of macadamized roadways and pavements (BOA, A. DVN, no. 67/8, 17 February 1851)

Thus, the Ottoman Empire needed well-trained manpower both for the newly emerging state bureaucracy and for modern business life, which had started to develop. It was impossible to meet the personnel needs of this modernized sector from the Ottoman elementary schools and madrasahs, which did not function beyond enabling children to socialize religiously in the traditional Ottoman order. A new education system had to be developed; one that could meet the needs of the modernized sectors of society. At first, attempts to meet the need for qualified men for modernized institutions such as the army were met by the academies founded by the Ottoman administration. With no students having undergone primary or secondary education, these schools could only matriculate students after long years of education. The number of modern education schools at the primary and secondary level established after the Tanzimat was small and limited to urban areas such as Istanbul. The most important step in the modernization of the Ottoman educational system was made with Maarif-i Umumi Nizamname (General Education Regulation), issued in 1869 during the ministry of Saffet Pasha. The system became prevalent across the empire after the 1880s. It comprised of elementary schools, rüşdiye (middle school), idadi / sultani (high schools), colleges and Darülfünün (university),. After 1880, close attention was paid in particular to retaining mechanisms that would increase the loyalty of students to the sultan, especially in the colleges. In other words, some of the conventional modern remnants were redesigned during the transition to modern education.2

4a- The front of the medallion minted for the memory of Islahat Edict (Istanbul Archeology Museum)

4b- The back of the medallion minted for the memory of Islahat Edict (Istanbul Archeology Museum)

5- The medallion minted in the name of Sultan Abdülmecid (Istanbul Archeology Museum)

Istanbul’s Population Dynamics

Prior to modernization, the urban population suffered from considerable fluctuations due to epidemic diseases, such as the plague and cholera. In Istanbul as well, dramatic population losses were experienced throughout its history due to epidemics. However, during the period of timid modernity, the population of Istanbul steadily increased. According to Kemal Karpat, it can be estimated that the population of Istanbul was 329,000 in 1829, 600,000 in 1864, 720,000 in 1877, 873,000 in 1885, 1,059,000 in 1897, 1,013,466 in 1901, and 1,200,000 in 1914.3 Of course, the reliability of these numbers is open to debate, but it still allows for some analysis; Istanbul’s population grew significantly. Even assuming that the 1829 estimate is low, the city’s population increased three-fold in more than 90 years. During the period of timid modernity, it can be seen that the population of Istanbul increased by approximately 1.5% per year. This increase was due to an overlapping of different demographic processes.

6- Daily life on Mahmutpaşa Slope in Eminönü district during the period of Sultan Abdülhamid II (Yıldız Albums)

7- Karaköy in the 19<sup>th</sup> Century (Yıldız Albums)

With this increase, the contribution of the gradual transition to a semi-modern health service, which was based on a very limited service in the traditional Ottoman order, led by the chief physician, is important. This transition also benefited from modern medical knowledge and tried to cover all subjects. In this regard, the first major development was the implementation of quarantine after 1840 in the Ottoman State. The second important step that followed was the importation of vaccines and serums from Europe after 1870 and, finally, after an outbreak of cholera in 1893, the establishment of the Bakteriolojihane-i Osmanî (Ottoman Bacteriology Laboratory). The modernization of health services in the Ottoman State intensified in port cities such as Istanbul, İzmir and Thessaloniki, and in the early twentieth century, began to spread to other cities.4

8- Büyük Hendek Street in Galata in the 19<sup>th</sup> Century (Yıldız Albums)

The reason for the increase in population was not only due to improvements in preventive health services. The permission for immigrants to come from the Balkans into the country also contributed substantially to this increase. Muslim and Jewish immigration to Istanbul and, with the disintegration of the Ottoman State following nationalist movements, people from Ottoman territories that were lost played a part in the impact of modernization. This migration intensified between 1860 and 1927.5 The migrations could be referred to as the “Balkanization Migrations,” much as the disintegration process was referred to as “Balkanization”. After 1857 the empire removed controls on these migrations and started to encourage new arrivals. The migrants to the Ottoman State were given land and the settlers moving into Anatolia were exempted from tax for 6 years, while those in Rumelia were exempt for 12 years. During this period, it was not the land, but labor that was a scarce factor in agricultural production. Therefore, the promotion of this migration, in a sense, became a means for the Ottoman State to compensate for loss of land. Until 1877, the immigrants arriving were settled in villages. After this time, the immigrants were allowed to settle in the cities. Regular migrant neighborhoods in cities began to be seen after this date. Thus, both the measures in the preventive health care field and the Balkanization migrations led to an increase in population in the lands retained by the Ottomans. According to McCarthy’s findings, the Anatolian population increased by 50% between 1878 and 1911. This corresponds to an annual increase of 1.5%.6

However, studies by Alan Duben and Cem Behar7 demonstrate that after 1880 Istanbul started to move forward on the path to a demographic transition process during the timid modernity period. The average age of marriage for girls and boys rose. In 1885, the age of marriage for girls was 19, rising to 20 in 1905. In 1907, the average marriage age for men rose to 30. In 1907, the crude birth rate was 29.4/1,000. The total fertility rate was 3.88. The number of polygamous families in Istanbul was 2.5%. The nuclear family had now become predominant.8

9- <em>General view of Istanbul / Constantinople</em>: The schema of Istanbul drawn by Mehmed Hulusi Efendi one of the street painters of the period of Sultan Abdulhamid II

10- The regulation dated 15 April 1849 about building wide and neat streets by leaving part of the yards to the streets when constructing a new house (BOA, A.  MKT, no. 185/53)

While the population of Istanbul was displaying a steady rise during the period of timid modernity, the ethnic and religious composition of the population changed dramatically. In this regard, the first noticeable improvement was the growing dominance of the Muslim population. While the Muslim population ratio rose to 47.91% in 1844, 47.51% in 1856 and 44.06% in 1885, it reached a peak at 56.37% in 1896 and 61.59% in 1914. Whereas 37.30% of the Muslim population was born in Istanbul in 1885, 62.70% was born outside Istanbul. It might be interpreted that this and the increase in the Muslim population were largely caused by Balkanization immigrations. Also, according to the results of the census in 1885, as low as31.1% of men and as high as 62.8% of women were Istanbul-born. This can be interpreted as a significant portion of those figures were due to both Balkanization migrations and economically-motivated migrations. The rate of foreigners living in Istanbul in 1907 was estimated to be 16.5%, a very high percentage. In later years, Istanbul could not regain such a level of cosmopolitanism.9

11- Karaköy in the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

Transformations in Istanbul’s Administration and Developments in Zoning Regulations

Urban management in the classical Ottoman order was one of the functions of the qadi. The qadi was not only a judge who implemented Sharia law; he was also in charge of many financial, civil and administrative duties in undifferentiated forms. The qadi carried out his duties concerning the regulation of urban life by utilizing his supervisory powers to control the members of the military class, as well as non-governmental organizations, such as guilds and waqfs. Subaşı and ases, who were auxiliary to the janissary corps, provided security in the city, while the çöplük subaşı worked with acemioğlans who cleaned the squares. The mimarbaşı (chief architect) was in charge of enforcing zoning orders, maintenance of roads and watercourses, while the muhtesib (market inspector) assisted in the supervision of the guilds in the city, the collection of bac-ı bazar (market taxes) and the establishment of prices. A committee of guild representatives, also known as the muhtesib, assisted him in establishing the prices. The imarets and waqfs met expenditures for infrastructural services, such as water and sewage systems, for institutions that provided social services, like madrasah, hamams, caravanserai, darüşşifas, bimarhanes, tabhanes (the last three being hospitals), etc. In regions settled by non-Muslim populations, such services were met by their own foundations.

12- The first pages of the Regulation of Buildings dated 1875 “This is the regulation for the way of constructing the buildings in Istanbul and the Three Towns (Bilad-Selase).”

The fact that the abolition of the janissary corps in 1826 by Mahmud II made this system dysfunctional in many aspects,10 and the failure of the old system to meet the administrative and infrastructural requirements of the city, which had been restructured with modernization, resulted in a need for reorganization. During this process, first the İhtisab Ministry11, with the abolishment of the classic order of the Hassa Mimarları Ocağı (Imperial Architects’ Guild), was established; this resulted in construction projects in the city coming to a halt. Thus, in 1831 the Ebniye-i Hassa Müdürlüğü was established to carry out duties of şehreminlik (office of the mayor) and mimarbaşılık (chief architect).12 When central institutions that had been established to provide a solution to urban management problems in Istanbul and the Ottoman State failed, local management solutions were sought.

The first step in this direction was made with the abolition of the İhtisab Ministry in 1855 and the establishment of the Istanbul Şehremaneti. It was the failure to supervise the city before this date and the lack of municipal services and organization in Istanbul, a city that was the base for the allied forces during the Crimean War, which led to the search for an institutional model. As a result of increasing relations with the outside world during and after the war, the establishment of the Şehremaneti was influenced by the idea of the French prefectures.13 Despite the establishment of this local council, the central government did not seem willing to renounce its control on administering Istanbul.14

13- Galata in the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

As the Şehremaneti was not successfully implemented, in 1856 the İntizam-ı Şehir Komisyonu (city order commission) was established. This commission included both prominent Muslim and non-Muslim Ottoman citizens who were familiar with foreign countries as well as foreigners who were permanent residents in Istanbul. Upon the positive reception of the commission’s suggestions, a Nizamname-i Umumi (general regulation) was prepared. According to these regulations, which came into force in 1857, Istanbul was to be divided into 14 municipal offices. These were Ayasofya, Aksaray, Fatih, Eyüp, Kasımpaşa, Pera, Beşiktaş, Emirgan, Büyükdere, Beykoz, Beylerbeyi, Üsküdar, Kadıköy and the Princes’ Islands consecutively. The first of these to be established was the VI. Daire-i Belediye (council of the 6th office) in Pera. Although it was suggested that others remain under the management of the Şehremaneti, the fact that the administration of the VI. Daire in Pera was directly controlled by grand vizier meant that it had a privileged opportunity to develop.15 As it was not practical to carry out city administration via individual municipal offices, there were attempts to bolster the Şehremaneti with the Dersaadet İdare-i Belediye Nizamnâme (regulation for the administration of the capital city), issued in 1868. In the Ottoman State, the final solution for the city’s administration was the establishment of municipalities with the Dersaadet ve Vilayet Belediye Kanunu (law pertaining to the capital and provincial municipalities), enforced in 1877. However, according to this law, the municipalities established were weak and this weakness continued throughout the entire modernization process.

14- Şehzadebaşı at the end of the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

The city began to grow under the effect of modernization and was making a transition from an organic city growing under the guidance of the chief architect to a city that flourished according to a plan that included a grid of roads. This would continue within the capacity of zoning and zoning regulations, matters that evolved over time.

The edicts that were promulgated prior to the Tanzimat indicate measures that were to be taken, particularly in case of fires. However, these regulations were designed to maintain the existing order rather than introduce new regulations that could ensure the transition to a new urban structure. The first document regulating the transition to a new order was the ilmühaber, which was published in 1839 when the Tanzimat was decreed. The principles of this ilmühaber relating to zoning can be summarized as follows: Those who had the economic power could be ordered to construct their buildings from brick or stone. In these neighborhoods, wide, geometrically arranged roads were built and the construction of wooden houses among these stone/brick buildings was forbidden. However, it was also noted that those who were financially incapable of erecting masonry buildings should not be restricted from building “close by”. In this text, the presence of the concept “close by”, which had no place in the modern zoning terminology, was evidence of the Ottoman timid approach to modernity. A gradation was offered between streets in the city. The city’s main roads would be 20 zira (15 m) wide. On both sides, pedestrian walkways of 4 zira would be built. Before cars were included in the urban transportation scene, no reason was seen to build pedestrian walkways on the streets, as the pedestrian and vehicle space on the road was the same. This arrangement can be seen as an indication that the car had begun to have an effect in the city.

15- Galata Bridge at the end of the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

After the main thoroughfares, roads of 15, 12 and 10 zira would be constructed, and no dead-end streets would be paved. A plan showing in which neighborhoods stone or brick buildings would be constructed, how wide the roads to be paved should be, and in what order they were to be carried out was prepared. In neighborhoods that had masonry houses, the building height would be no more than 20 zira, consisting of 3 stories. In previously enforced regulations on heights of buildings, the buildings of non-Muslims were to be lower than those of the Muslim population. That no differentiation such as this is seen here can be interpreted as a reflection of the Tanzimat’s principle of equality. Those who requested to do so would be able to include a shop under their buildings. The buildings would have an entryway, which would not affect their alignment with the road. In fire areas, restructuring would be carried out in accordance with the city plan. For the waqf lands that were to be expropriated for road expansion, the land would not be paid for, but the rent would be increased. If the property owners’ land was to be purchased, the payment would be made by the Evkaf-ı Hümayun Treasury.16

16- Tophane at the end of the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

Being set out in the 1839 ilmühaber, the transformation of the modern city vision of the Ottoman administration into an official document was achieved with the Ebniye Regulation and the Ebniye Law, issued in 1848; this was effective only in Istanbul, while the Ebniye Regulations issued in 1849 were effective throughout the territory. These regulations were prepared by the director of the Ebniye-i Hassa and the Meclis-i Ebniye, a council made up of master builders and other officials. Starting with these regulations and developing in stages, public housing laws reached a certain level of sophistication, as seen in the issuance of the Ebniye Law in 1882. These laws focused on the paving of new roads that would be appropriate for the new modes of urban transportation and the widening of these roads, as well as how new fields were to be opened for construction, how fire areas were to be reorganized and how fire hazards were to be reduced. In a sense, under the influence of Haussman’s practices in Paris, a devastating modernization was legitimized.17

Coming into force during the Ottoman State, the Tahrir-i Nüfus ve Emlake Dair Talimatnâme, (Regulation Concerning Population Census and Property), dated 1860, is important in terms of how the administration had changed its view on the individual and urban space as a result of the modernization that had been experienced until that date.18 Thanks to this regulation, for the first time in the Ottoman State the concept of issuing a birth certificate was introduced. Now the subjects had been granted an identity. In the census, the principle of counting the entire population of men and women was accepted. All buildings in the urban space would be given a number. In other words, the state could now determine every individual’s location with precision. Parallel to this, to precisely determine the location and boundaries of property, cadastral maps were introduced. The buildings constructed within the city were obliged to receive a license and pay “architectural taxes”. Thus, corporate interests at the center of modernism were legitimized from within urban planning.

17- Eminönü, Galata, and Bosporus at the end of the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

In a city like Istanbul, it is clear that the historical environment could easily be damaged during major structural transformations, as had happened in the nineteenth century. In this regard, there was no sensitivity enshrined into the zoning laws. The arrangements for protection were completely separate. In the criminal law of 1858, anyone who destroyed sacred or monumental buildings were subject to a fine on their first offense. With the Asar-ı Atika regulations, issued in 1869, 1874, 1884 and 1906, the conservation of any property that had historical importance was gradually included within the scope of the law. Thus, in parallel with zoning laws, conservation laws were also developed.19

Reshaping the Urban Form during the Era of Timid Modernity

In the second half of the nineteenth century, it can be said that Ottoman cities in general and Istanbul in particular suffered from five major problems requiring immediate attention . The first was the need to reconstruct the city center, in order to accommodate new institutions and organizations created by municipal administrative reforms and emerging economic enterprises. The second was the onset of diversity in in residential areas due to new social stratification, brought on by economic and administrative transformations. The third was the opening of new residential areas required by rapid growth in the city population. The fourth was the introduction of urban and infrastructural services, such as the roads and transportation necessitated by the new urban structure. The fifth was fire prevention across the city, a problem caused by the large number of wooden houses. The Ottomans attempted to solve these problems in the institutional framework they had developed. It would be useful to examine the five problem areas respectively.20

18- The Golden Horn and Kağıthane at the end of the 19<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

The need to reconstruct traditional city centers, led by new economic relations and administrative reforms, can be attributed to four reasons. The first was the change in the style and channels of communication, now established between the city and the outside world. Istanbul was establishing foreign affairs now not with sailing ships and caravans, but with steamboats and railroads. Communication was no longer carried out only with military messengers or via military stages; now there were public postal systems and telegraphs. These new channels of communication meant new central stations, docks and post offices. This change in the relationship with the environment meant the creation of new buildings for these functions as well as auxilary buildings. The construction of warehouses for storage and the building of hotels were necessary to provide accommodation for travelers and to store goods. In other words, the han (inn) of the sixteenth century was now transformed into three buildings: a station, a warehouse and a hotel.21

19- Eyüp District (Yadigar-ı Istanbul)

The second reason was due to the emergence of new financial institutions that required the Ottoman State to open itself up to foreign trade and investment. The banks that began to be opened in the center of Istanbul selected locations near one another in order to compete. New foreign trade did not require a direct relationship between the traders and the goods, but rather more coordination. Therefore, traders moved their workplaces to the commercial buildings that were set up near the shore, rather than working from warehouses. The city’s most prestigious business center was no longer the bedesten and its environment, but the newly established banks and commercial buildings.

The third reason was the new bureaucratic organization introduced by the Tanzimat. Bureaucracy not only was expanding and diversifying, but state affairs were dealing with it in separate government offices. The buildings related to new bureaucracies would offer a new point of attraction in the city center around the Sublime Porte.22

The fourth effect of development on the city center was created by the institutions and enterprises brought about by new lifestyles and consumption patterns, the result of new economic relations. These were places where luxury items and services were sold, such as entertainment venues, cafes etc.

A transformation was occurring in the city center; however, the economic and social forces that caused this could not eliminate the old, but rather made a place for the new next to the old. During this transformation, the old adapted to the new conditions. Thus, the city center was changing as it spread to new areas. While new center functions were occurring in the Galata and Beyoğlu areas, areas generally inhabited by non-Muslim populations, the old center was changing by stretching to Saraçhanebaşı, a region populated by Muslims.

During this period, another issue in Istanbul was the change that occurred in residential areas due to changes in transportation technology and in social stratification. In the classical Ottoman order, social structure was diversified according to millet (nations), based on the principles of religion and class, which in turn were based on divisions of social labor. Class diversification within each nation was generally similar in nature. The nineteenth century brought changes in international positions due to class diversifications within each nation. To summarize this transformation, in parallel with administrative reforms, the members of the military class in the classical Ottoman order became the sultan’s salaried bureaucrats. The new central government after the Tanzimat required a larger and better-trained bureaucracy, and this in turn required the establishment of new educational institutions. These institutions would train new bureaucracies for the army, civil government and judiciary services. There were large disparities between the lower levels and upper echelons of the growing bureaucracy. In the classical Ottoman class structure, the second class, the ilmiye, or intelligentsia, was a losing class in every nation. The main reasons for the loss of this class was that the waqf income, upon which the ilmiye class relied, was under control, as early as the reign of Mahmud II; in addition, the transference of some administrative and judicial functions to the new bureaucracy and the training of the new bureaucracy in new educational institutions outside of the madrasahs affected this social class. The rising trade sector in non-Muslim societies also limited the power that the clergy had with the Church.

In the Ottoman classical order, the third class consisted of merchants and artisans. In this case the artisans lost out to the merchants’ benefit . Newly established foreign economic relations made the collection of raw materials difficult and limited the market space. However, this situation enabled the trade sector to grow. The development of the trade sector was not equal among the millet. The control of foreign trade was in the hands of European countries, such as England, France and the Netherlands, as it was throughout the Mediterranean. These countries practiced the organization of distribution and collection in Turkey via the merchants. This means that merchants were selected from certain nationalities, for example, the Greeks and Armenians. Muslim merchants were limited to performing lower level trade. Development of foreign trade and the commencement of foreign investment meant an increase in the need for loans and financing. This requirement brought about a gradual organization of finance capital. At the top was the foreign capital and bank groups, under these were the local financiers from the non-Muslim millet, known as the “Galata bankers” and, at the bottom, embedded at the level of trade, was the moneylender merchant sector, prevalent among all the millets. The most radical transformation in the Ottoman class system can be observed in the commerce and crafts sector. As imperialist control was established, the increase in inequality was dramatic. Moreover, the commencement of factory production and services offered by large companies in urban intercities , although very limited, began to create a class that had not been seen earlier: wage laborers.23

20- A part from Üsküdar at the beginning of the 20<sup>th</sup> century (Diez-Glück)

In addition to this transformation in the city’s social structure, increased accessibility resulted in a switch in public transportation from pedestrian or water-based vessels to vehicles such as trams, ferries and suburban trains. This created new residential trends. The diversification of residential areas in the classical Ottoman period was formed in terms of ethnic and religious differences, not according to social stratification. There was a transitional area around the commercial area of the city made up of bachelors’ rooms and inns; surrounding this were residential areas inhabited by the Muslim population. Outside of this area were the neighborhoods of non-Muslim residents. In these neighborhoods, the rich and poor of each millet lived together. In the residential areas in the nineteenth century, in addition to differentiation according to millet, a new class-based differentiation was also present. The rich of all the millet started to form suburbs along the ferry lines and the transport opportunities through the railway lines by populating the coastal areas of the Marmara and Bosphorus. The abandonment of Topkapı Palace by Sultan Abdülmecid for Dolmabahçe Palace in 1854 accelerated this trend.

The third problem that needed to be solved was the rapid increase in population. In the traditional Ottoman order, the population of cities did not grow. For this reason, the establishment of new neighborhoods in the cities was limited by strict rules and required an edict from the sultan. When the increase in city populations accelerated, the conditions of opening new neighborhoods were determined in the Ebniye (building) Law, and the attainment of permission was made easier.

21- Süleymaniye at the beginning of the 20<sup>th</sup> century

The fourth problem was providing the growing city, which now had a range of functions, with a suitable infrastructure and urban services for the new facilities introduced by the Industrial Revolution. The most important factor that affected the city’s shape was the changes to urban transportation services and the infrastructure. The income of the Şehremaneti was rather inadequate to meet these kinds of infrastructural needs. Thus, the provision of infrastructure was carried by European capitalism via foreign companies who imported capital during the 1870s.

The fifth problem was caused by the wooden buildings of the city. The tradition of wooden houses dated back to the Byzantine period. While Osman Nuri Ergin attributes this style of housing to its resistance to earthquakes, Münif Bey attributes it to the fact that wood was healthier than bricks or stone-buildings. However, it would be wiser to look for the main reason in the fact that wooden buildings could be quickly erected; moreover, if one considers the transport method for construction materials in this period, wooden structures can be understood to be more cost effective than masonry. Wooden housing, narrow roads, dead-end streets and the lack of fire brigades, except for the tulumbacılar, all caused dramatic fire disasters in Istanbul. There were eight major fires in Cibali and Hocapaşa. In the eighth Cibali fire, in 1833, 3,000 houses, 36 lodgings, 260 baths and other buildings were burnt down. Osman Nuri Ergin confirmed that 23,404 buildings were destroyed between 1854 and 1908 in a total of 229 major fires. The largest of these was the eighth Hocapaşa Fire in 1865, during which 3,010 buildings were destroyed and the Beyoğlu Fire in 1870 during which 3,000 buildings were burned down. Other losses included 748 buildings in the Laleli-Aksaray fire of 1855, 600 buildings in 1860 in the Unkapanı fire, 526 in 1863 in the Kasımpaşa fire, 500 in the 1866 Balat fire, 591 in 1872 in the Kuzguncuk fire, 687 buildings in 1873 in the Samatya-Kocamustafapaşa fire, 1,200 in the 1889 Pendik fire and 1,121 buildings in 1903 in the Kartal-Maltepe fire.24 The Ottoman government knew that the solution was masonry buildings, but because these were not cost effective for the public, the conversion of buildings from wooden to masonry could not be put into practice.

Any attempt to solve the problems Istanbul was encountering within the intellectual framework of modernization made it necessary for urban planning to be developed. Even though the first implementation of urban planning in Istanbul was made in the 1840s, it was beyond the financial capacity of the urban administration to implement these plans. Rather than being based on administrative decisions, it was the situation created by the major fires that compelled a transformation of the city. Fire zones were planned in accordance with the newly-devised public housing laws. What enabled the transformation of the fire zones was the planning of local fire zones, strung out like a mosaic. The implementation of these became popular after the 1850s.

In shaping Istanbul according to the new economic and social requirements, the most critical transformation was what was experienced in the Merkezî İş Alanı (central commercial area) of Istanbul. Two phenomena that occurred in the mid-1860s determined this transformation. One of these was25 the 1864 Great Hocapasa Fire, and the second was the collapse of the Galata walls in the same year. Following the planning implemented in these areas, the Merkezî İş Alanı of the city was restructured, and stretched past Galata to Beyoğlu. The Merkezî İş Alanı stretched out along the main streets in parallel with the increase of the city’s population and laborers. The city spread along lines of transportation, such as trams, ferries and railways. These lines intersected in the center. In short, it would be correct to conceptualize the city in this period as being made up of intersecting bands.

22- The Golden Horn, Eyüp, Sütlüce (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

During this period, Istanbul developed in three areas, divided by the Golden Horn and Bosphorus waterways. The first development was on the Historical Peninsula. The developments in this area were generally limited to the city walls. Outside the walls, in settlements such as Kazlıçeşme and Ayvansaray-Eyüp, businesses like abattoirs and tanneries, as well as dangerous gunpowder factories, were in operation, polluting the water. Makriköy and Yeşilköy were suburban settlements that developed along the railway line that stretched in this direction.

The development to the north of the Golden Horn spread along three axes. The first one was along the coastal line from Tophane to Ortaköy. The second axis was composed of the settlements on the west side of the road, stretching from Taksim to Şişli. The third started from Dolmabahçe, progressing through Teşvikiye and Nişantaşı. Outside these developments, the villages that lined up along the Bosphorus became integrated with urban life to a large extent.

The development on the Anatolian side took place in three directions. One of these was the axis stretching from Üsküdar to Kuzguncuk, including Bağlarbaşı and İcadiye. The second was the Haydarpaşa and Yeldeğirmeni settlements that filled in the expanse between Üsküdar and Kadıköy. The third direction consisted of sub-cities like Kızıltoprak, Göztepe, Erenköy and Bostancı. In this context, Fenerbahçe developed as a Levantine sub-city after 1895.

While housing developments spread along these axes, it also created social diversification. Although ethnic diversification was not separated along precise lines, it displayed a regional diversification. The Greek population concentrated around Fener, Ayakapı and Cibali on the Historical Peninsula. The Greeks also lived in Samatya and Kumkapı, Makriköy/Bakırköy and Yeşilköy. The Greek population settled in Galata, Pera and Pangaltı to the north of the Golden Horn and in Beşiktaş, Kuruçeşme-Arnavutköy, Ortaköy, Tarabya, Rumelihisarı, Yeniköy, Boyacıköy, Büyükdere and Sarıyer. On the east side of the Bosphorus, Çengelköy, Üsküdar and Kadıköy had dense Greek populations. The Greeks also populated Beykoz, Kuzguncuk and Selimiye, and there were settlements on Büyükada, Heybeliada and Burgazada. In addition, on the Marmara coast, in Kartal and Gebze there was a substantial number of Greek settlements.

23- The Golden Horn and Istanbul from the hillside of Eyüp (Diez-Glück)

The Armenian population was concentrated around Samatya, Kumkapı, Gedikpaşa and Yenikapı on the Historical Peninsula, in addition to Topkapı, Narlıkapı, Yedikule, Balat and Bakırköy and Yeşilköy outside the city walls. To the north of the Golden Horn, Hasköy, Galata, Beyoğlu, Surpagop, Pangaltı and Şişli were areas settled by Armenians. Armenians lived on the west coast of the Bosphorus in Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and Kuruçeşme, and partly in Arnavutköy, Rumelihisarı, Boyacıköy, İstinye, Yeniköy and Büyükdere. Armenian neighborhoods on the eastern side of the Bosphorus were located in Kuzguncuk, Bağlarbaşı-Yenimahalle, Selamsız and İcadiye. Also, Beykoz, Çengelköy, Selimiye and Alemdar were villages settled by Armenians. On the Islands, they mostly settled on Kınalı, partly on Büyükada and in Kartal on the Marmara coast.

The Jewish population was centered in Balat and in the vicinity of Cibali, Ayvansaray and Tekfursaray on the Historical Peninsula; north of the Golden Horn, they were centered around Hasköy as well as in Galata, Pera, Kasımpaşa and Tophane. On the western coasts of the Bosphorus, Kuruçeşme was an important center, while Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Arnavutköy and Büyükdere were also populated by Jewish settlements. Centering in Kuzguncuk on the east coast of the Bosphorus, there were Jewish settlements in Çengelköy, Üsküdar and Kadıköy.

Foreigners mainly lived in Galata and Pera, and Levantines lived mostly in Cihangir. The British preferred Bebek and Kandilli, while the French preferred Kandilli and Büyükdere.

Muslims lived around Aksaray, Laleli, Şehzadebaşı, Süleymaniye, Zeyrek, Sultan Selim, Çarşamba, Fatih and Atikali on the Historical Peninsula. Outside the city walls, Eyüp was a Muslim settlement. In Bakırköy and Yeşilköy, Muslims and non-Muslims lived together. On the north of the Golden Horn, Sütlüce and Kasımpaşa were Muslim neighborhoods. There was a small number of Muslims in Galata and Pera, but Tophane and Fındıklı were areas of dense Muslim population. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Nişantaşı and Yıldız were neighborhoods settled by Muslim bureaucrats. On the west coasts of the Bosphorus, Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Büyükdere, Sarıyer and Rumelikavak were Muslim settlements. On the east coast, they settled between Anadolu Kavağı and Kandilli. While the Muslim population was centered in Üsküdar, the non-Muslim population was concentrated in Kadıköy. On the Marmara coasts, the Muslim elite were concentrated in the sub-cities of Kızıltoprak, Göztepe, Erenköy and Bostancı. Whereas the non-Muslim population was the majority on the Prince’s Islands, the Muslim population was high in number in Kartal and Gebze.

In addition to the ethnic diversification of urban locations, social layers also were diversifying. In this period, while the Historical Peninsula and the Golden Horn coast began to lose their prestige, Boğaziçi, Dolmabahçe and its environment, Nişantaşı, Pera and the settlements on the railway line that stretched from Kadıköy to Bostancı and the railway line to Europe, going from Bakırköy to Yeşilköy, began to gain prestige. The development of the Sublime Porte in its previous place balanced the effect of the palace changing location, and decreased the loss of prestige for the Historical Peninsula. Between Cağaloğlu and Soğukçeşme, Süleymaniye, Fatih, Çarşamba and Sultanselim were neighborhoods which were the location of the mansions of ulama and pashas. Towards the end of the century, new mansions began to be built, mostly in Ayazpaşa, Nişantaşı and Yıldız. The upper section of the Muslim population built their pavilions on the hillsdies of the Bosphorus, near Üsküdar and Çamlıca, and in the neighborhoods of Haydarpaşa, Kadıköy, Suadiye, Caddebostan, Kızıltoprak, Göztepe, Erenköy and Bostancı. It was not only the Muslims who deserted the Historical Peninsula. Even in the eighteenth century, abandoning Fener, the wealthy Fenerbeyleri settled in poor Bosphorus villages such as Tarabya and Yeniköy. During the nineteenth century, wealthy groups of Greeks, Armenians and Jews moved to Pera and settlements to the north of this area, and the Bosphorus after Fener, Samatya, Balat and the environs. The Bosphorus also developed a new prestige after the sultan settled there. After Beşiktaş and Çırağan Palaces in Dolmabahçe, the Feriye palaces and the prince’s mansions started to appear. Following these, the Jewish and Armenian mansions were nationalized, and they left their mansions to the sultan and Damad-ı Şehriyari. Mansions belonging to ministers were built between Defterdar Cape, Kuruçeşme Pier and the sultans’ palaces.26

24- Aksaray, Laleli, Şehzadebaşı, and Beyazıt (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

At the top of the list of places losing prestige were the Golden Horn coasts. Construction of barracks like İplikhane and Humbaracılar Barracks and the construction of higher education institutions like the Mühendishane-i Berrî-i Hümayun (Imperial Naval Engineering School), the construction of the first industrial buildings such as Feshane and Cibali, and the spreading of dockyards reduced the attraction of the Golden Horn. Balat and Hasköy on both sides of the Golden Horn were areas of grinding poverty. Inhabited by a Muslim population, Eyüp was a settlement of boatmen and people from the low income sector. Situated at a point of easy access for urban commercial centers, Kasımpaşa was a region populated by people arriving from the villages to find jobs in the city. Neighborhoods near the city walls were areas preferred by the low income sectors. On the Anatolian side, Üsküdar was a neighborhood in which bachelors, unemployed and unskilled laborers lived.27

25- Beyazıt (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)


After long years of war and occupation between 1912 and 1923, as the Republic of Turkey was establishing itself, the population of Istanbul fell to as low as 650,000, being reduced to half of the population in the pre-war period. Istanbul was no longer the growing city shy of modernity. Istanbul shrunk and it would take long years for the city to start growing and reach its previous population.

Political and Economic Dynamics

In 1923, the Republic was established, but in terms of social consciousness there was a long way to go to transform the republic into a nation-state. The founders of the Republic wanted to build a modern and independent nation-state that was not under the control of the West. In order to achieve this, they pursued relatively conscious locational strategies at the countrywide level. The most important of these was declaring Ankara the capital, abandoning Istanbul, which had served as the capital for three empires. Selecting Ankara as the capital instead of Istanbul, a city that was intimately interconnected with the West, was a revolutionary decision. The people who made this decision took a significant political risk. It was believed that a true modern life could not be built in Istanbul, and they set out to create a modern model life in Ankara.

Turkey was ravaged by the war, having suffered dramatic losses in qualified human resources. The capital accumulation was very low. Turkey had lost much of its appeal to foreign capital after the Treaty of Lausanne and it was in the grip of the 1929 Depression, the effects of which were starting to be felt after the first years of the Republic. Shortly thereafter, World War II broke out. In short, Turkey had to carry out its radical modernity project under severe economic conditions; these conditions impelled Turkey to state industrialization and import substitution. Inspired by the success of the Soviet planning experience, Turkey tried to guide this development in keeping with its modernist line and planning. The main entrepreneur of this development would be the state.

26- Grand Bazaar, Nuruosmaniye, Çemberlitaş (the Column of Constantine), and Ayasofya (Hagia Sopha) (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

During radical modernization, special attention was given to education and health services. The Tevhid-i Tedrisat (Unity in Education) was an attempt tohomogenize education along a modernist line. Evaluated together efforts introducing technical education, improving rural education, spreading primary education, improving the quality of secondary education, and university reforms were in service of nation-building.

Radical modernity pursued a spatial strategy that took place on two different levels. The first was to convert the land into a nation-state space, while the second was remaking the cities into places of modernity. Four important steps were taken in order to create a nation-state space in the land. The first of these was to make Ankara the capital; the second was ensuring the integrity of the internal market by building a network of railroads; the third was as an application of state-assisted industrialization policies in order to develop industries in small Anatolian cities positioned on the rail network; the fourth was to spread modern life and values throughout the land via HalkEvleri (community houses), which had been set up in all Anatolian cities.28

The Socialist Revolution in Russia during and following World War I, and the Turkish Republic Revolution meant that Istanbul lost its standing as a “world city”. The move of the capital to Ankara meant the process of loss for Istanbul was accelerated. It can be said that in this period the main problem of the city was to determine the foundation upon which the city’s economy would rest. In the aftermath of the War of Independence, an international crisis in the 1930s left Turkey without enough time to make an economic recovery. In this crisis, an etatist policy was adopted by Turkey; Central Anatolia was given priority in new developments, thus leaving the question of what would be the foundation of Istanbul’s economy unresolved until World War II. In a meeting for the evaluation of reconstruction plans in Istanbul, Yahya Kemal put this problem in this way: “Whereas in the past Istanbul had to live with consumption, now it has to live with production.” The problems of reconstruction would only be solved when the question of what kind of production center Istanbul would become was answered. The vital problem was the reconstruction capacity of the townspeople. “There are people and a city. The reconstruction capacity of Istanbul is limitless. But what capacity do the people have for reconstruction?” Still, there was a need to boost production in order to increase the limited reconstruction capacity of the people. “When production is mentioned, the fact that Istanbul is a transit center, an industrial city and considerable tourist center springs immediately to mind.” Yahya Kemal did not have much hope on any of these matters.29 In the troubled atmosphere of World War II, Istanbul would provide an increase in production and trade activity and this problem would no longer be on the agenda.

Another problem for Istanbul during this period was depopulation along the Bosphorus. This situation was brought onto the agenda in Boğaziçi magazine, published by Şirket-i Hayriyye, in one of many attempts to revivify the Bosphorus: “For many years, we have started to depopulate the Bosphorus despite there not being any kind of invasion. We are fleeing from the best part of the world.” The dwindling urban population, new economic structures and the accompanying change in social stratification led to a decrease in the population. To resist this trend, the Şirket-i Hayriyye, the ferry company, carried construction materials for buildings along the Bosphorus free of charge and a fee pass to the ferries, good for three years, was given to the home owners.30

Istanbul’s Population Dynamics during Radical Modernity

The population of the city, which was 1,200,000 in 1914, declined by nearly half in 1923 , a truly dramatic decrease. In 1927, the population rose to 691,000, in 1935 to 741,000, in 1940 to 794,000, in 1945 to 861,000 and in 1950 to 983,000. Although 27 years had elapsed since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Istanbul still could not return to its 1914 population numbers. The ratio of Istanbul’s population to the rest of the country was 5.1% in 1927, 4.5% in 1935, 4.4% in 1940, 4.5% in 1945 and 4.7% in 1950. These numbers show that Istanbul’s population growth rate was below the Turkish average. According to an assessment by Alan Duben, the reasons behind this low population included the fact that by World War II the demographic transition in Istanbul’s population had been, to a large extent, completed and the low rate of immigration during this period.

The health of the population should also be considered when interpreting the numbers during this period. In the early period of the Republic, malaria, syphilis, trachoma and tuberculosis were widespread. The Republic yielded good results by conducting widespread and effective campaigns in public health. The Hıfzıssıha (Public Health Preservation) Institute played a central role in this mechanism.

During this period, another feature of the population dynamics was the homogenization of the Istanbul population, with a gradual loss of its cosmopolitan character. While 65% of Istanbul’s population was Muslim in 1927, this rate rose to 70% in 1935 and 84% in 1950. The number of Greeks fell to 90,000 in 1927, 75,000 in 1935, 70,000 in 1945 and 62,000 in 1950. Similarly, while the number of Greeks was 45,000 in 1927, this number decreased to 39,000 in 1935, rose to 43,000 in 1945 and decreased again in 1950 to 40,000. Whereas the Jewish population was 39,000 in 1927, it was 26,000 in 1935, 31,000 in 1945 and 26,000 in 1950. The number of foreigners in the city in 1950 was 11,550. Of course, when these populations are compared to the total urban population, the decrease reveals itself more strikingly.

Administrative Changes during the Period of Radical Modernity and Improvement in Public Housing Laws

In the early years of the Republic, the city administrative and urban zoning laws inherited from the Ottoman period remained largely unchanged. The Republic recognized the inadequacy of these laws, as well as the mentality that lay behind them when construction in Ankara began. According to the plans of H. Jansen, influenced by Howard’s “garden city” and Camillo Sitte’s “historical city” concepts, an attempt to create the model city for the contemporary living space of radical modernity was made in Ankara. After 1930, the experience gained during this process began to be projected on local administrative and public housing laws, one after another.

The Belediyeler Kanunu (Municipal Law) No. 1580, introduced on April 3, 1930, the Umumi Hıfzıssıhha Kanunu (Public Health Law) No. 1593, introduced on May 6, 1930, Belediyeler Bankası Kuruluş Kanunu (Establishment of Municipal Banks Law) No 2031, introduced on June 1 1933, the Yapı ve Yollar Kanunu (Construction and Roads Law) No. 2290, introduced on June 21, 1933 and the Belediyeler İstimlak Kanunu (Municipal Expropriation Law) No. 2497, introduced on June 9, 1934 introduced an institutional framework to the Republic.31 These acts embodied what kind of city was envisaged by the Republic in the early period. Thus, a modernist framework was established for the development of cities. The most important feature of this framework was the prevention of ad hoc urban development. This meant that plans became the leading factor in urban development. In parallel with this, the plans and construction of all public and private buildings” were brought “under the supervision and liability of engineers, according to feature, importance and size.” 32

With Belediyeler Kanunu No. 1580, a “joint administration” period began in Istanbul. The şehremaneti was abolished, and was renamed the belediye (municipality); as in all other cities, in Istanbul the provincial and municipal were merging. In Istanbul, only one Umumi Meclis (General Council) would be elected to carry out the duties of both the municipality and provincial councils. There were 10 branches in the new municipalities. These were: Eminönü, Fatih, Bakırköy, Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş, Sarıyer, Beykoz, Üsküdar, Kadıköy and the Princes’ Islands. Kaymakams were assigned branch directorates. The integrated structure continued during this period. Later, the Pendik municipality was established in 1930, Tuzla in 1936, Maltepe in 1943 and Kartal in 1947; all of these were included in the metropolitan area.33

Reshaping the City during the Period of Radical Modernity Yeniden Biçimlenmesi

27- From Fındıklı Molla Çelebi Mosque (Kabataş Mosque) to Dolmabahçe (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

During the period of radical modernity, one of the most important factors influencing the form of the city was that it had ceased to operate as the capital. When the ministries that were scattered between Süleymaniye, Beyazıt and Sultanahmet disappeared, a vast expanse emerged. Attempts were made to fill this expanse with buildings of higher education for the ministries. For example, the Darülfünun was located in the building previously used for the naval ministry, the Military Medical Faculty moved into the treasury building, the college of trade moved to the premises of the forestry ministry, and the Istanbul Girls High School was moved into the Sheikh ul-Islam building. Upon the loss of the Ottoman bureaucrats who lived around Fatih, Sultanselim, Vefa, Beyazıt and Divanyolu, the mansions erected here lost their function and as the income of bureaucrats decreased, these empty or half-empty mansions were taken over by merchants and by Anatolian upper-middle class. The dilapidation of these buildings was not only the result of fires, but also due to an important transformation in the urban structure.34 The old Istanbul experienced a second loss when the sultan transferred his palace to the Bosphorus coast. In this period, nearly all areas except Beyoğlu and in the north Teşvikiye, Nişantaşı and Şişli were losing regions as the city shrank. The existence of various factors may have ensured that the prestige of these neighborhoods was protected. Firstly, sectors of society who could find the opportunity to become wealthy despite the depression the city was suffering preferred these areas; the same was true for owners of capital who had migrated from Thessaloniki in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. These groups preferred living in the areas of Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye. Another reason was that due to large fires, the Historical Peninsula had been completely devastated.

28- Dolmabahçe and Taksim (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

After the making of five-year plans became compulsory for municipalities, the result of the Belediye ve Umumi Hıfzıssıhha (Municipal and Public Health) Law, dated 1930, the Istanbul Municipality followed the example of Ankara, and held a competition among city planners for a city-plan. However, no results were attained from this and the planning of Istanbul was given to Henri Prost, who had prepared the regional plan for Paris. In 1936 and 1937, 1/5000 scaled plans of the historical peninsula and the Beyoğlu neighborhood were prepared. Before this plan came into effect, it was presented to Milli Şef İnönü (national chief), who approved of it. At this stage, an enforcement program, envisaging the implementation of the plan in 15 years, was prepared for three and five year periods. In 1940, zoning plans for Üsküdar, Kadıköy and Çamlıca on the Anatolian side were added. Plans for Eyüp and Rami, outside the city walls, followed. In total, zoning plans for an area of 6,000 hectares were prepared. The developments in the city intersected in the center and were serviced by the existing suburban trains, trams and sea lines. These zoning plans created a format that was suitable for an integrated transport system, and more particularly for motorized vehicle transport.

29- Üsküdar: From Fethi Paşa Woods to Salacak (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

Although the Prost plan was not fully implemented, during periods of slow population growth, the construction of other well-designed roads, primarily Yenikapı, Atatürk Boulevard, Unkapanı Bridge, Şişhane, Tozkoparan Streets, not only changed accessibility in the city, but also created new dynamics in relation to regional population distribution. It was decided best to keep the old commercial center of the city the same, but with some adjustments. Between the two bridges to the right of the Golden Horn, sales areas for food, market halls and a fish market were to be developed in the places that they already existed. It was anticipated that the industrial areas would be clustered around the Golden Horn. All industrial establishments and warehouses along the Bosphorus would be moved away from the area. The Moda and Marmara coasts were proposed for zoning and new developments on the Anatolian side. In Fenerbahçe, the transference of the military area to the civil administration and a large housing area was planned. In Suadiye, a new housing development was designed. Proposing two large parks and an archaeological park,35 Prost’s plan also had a “beautification” element.

In 1938, when the first part of Prost’s zoning plan had been completed, Dr. Lütfi Kırdar was appointed governor and mayor of Istanbul. Enjoying the support of the president, Kırdar was to implement this plan. The Prost Plan and ten-year-program, reorganized in 1943, aimed to provide integrity within the city by bringing together scattered areas of the city, which had spread along the sea lines, railway and tramlines that composed the main transport axes of the city.36

Although some parts had been opened earlier, Atatürk Boulevard, stretching from Yenikapanı to Unkapanı and measuring 50 meters wide, constituted the backbone of Old Istanbul. As a touristic road running outside the city walls, Atatürk Boulevard contributed substantially to the city form by following along the Marmara and Golden Horn at two different ends, like a belt. Opened in 1939, the Atatürk Bridge greatly facilitated transportation between the two sides of the city.

The focus of the zoning plans on the Beyoğlu side was the development of the area between Taksim-Harbiye and Maçka-Dolmabahçe. By widening Taksim Square towards Ayazpaşa, a rectangular ceremonial area was created. On this axis, the construction of an opera building started. İnönü Gezi Park was built by pulling down the Taksim Barracks. Next to this area, a new Taksim Municipal Music Hall was built in Taksim Garden. One of the most important decisions of the plan, Park No. 2 was carried out; inside this park, a Sports and Exhibition Hall, an Open Air Theater, a Funfair, and Dolmabahçe (İnönü) Stadium were built.

During this period, generally speaking, the scattering of the non-Muslim population around the urban area decreased in parallel with the decrease in their population. This decrease took place around centers where the non-Muslim population had been concentrated during earlier periods.

In parallel with the implementation of apartment construction, prestige was introduced into the urban area; this determined the redistribution strategy of the local population. The areas around Atatürk Boulevard, Taksim, Harbiye, Maçka, Nişantaşı and Şişli consisted of neighborhoods where a large number of apartments were constructed. Kızıltoprak, Göztepe, Erenköy, Bostancı, Maltepe and Suadiye lost their resort character, becoming areas of permanent residences.


In the aftermath of World War II, rapid urbanization was experienced in Turkey, as in most countries around the world. Like many other countries, Turkey could not foresee that urbanization on such a large scale would occur. When Turkey encountered this situation, it changed its political regime from a single party regime to a multi-party regime. As expected, in a multi-party regime the possibility of implementing a radical modernity project as part of a social engineering approach was reduced. What could be implemented would be within the populist modernization process, which must be sensitive to public tendencies.

As we refer to the years between 1948 and 1984 as a period of “populist modernity”, it must be remembered that three military coups were launched and particular importance was attached to the planning of development, with the establishment of the State Planning Office following the 1960 military coup. Thus, it is necessary to clarify why all decisions made in this period should be identified as populist. The ruling parties in the periods in question also maintained populist tendencies, especially in zoning laws. Thus, the whole period should be referred to as “populist”.

Political and Economic Dynamics

By adopting an autarchic policy, an attempt to create inward-looking economic development was made; in the aftermath of the war, a process of “foreign expansion”, with particular attention to agriculture. Although the improvements did not occur in leaps and bounds, in the oft-quoted liberalization discourse, the private sector was brought to the fore. While industrialization was promoted under the auspices of the private sector, industrialization under the careful eye of the state was maintained. The negotiated understanding for the period was a mixed economy. In achieving an integration of the country’s domestic market, the strategy shifted from a railway oriented strategy to a land-route oriented strategy.

30- Aksaray and Vatan Street (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

With mechanizations being introduced into agriculture and the transition from subsistence agricultural production to production for national and international markets, the decrease in population in rural areas accelerated. While during the radical modernity period the population of Ankara increased by 6%, in the aftermath of World War II all other cities also started to experience growth rates of 6%.

Carrying out urbanization at this speed successfully within the legitimizing framework of previous periods presented major difficulties, as this framework had been institutionalized and now offered an approach to urban planning that was oriented towards designing the city as an object. In order to generate employment for the groups arriving in the city in growing numbers, considerable investments had to be made in the industrial and service sectors. In addition, to settle immigrants in the cities in keeping with the norms of the modernity project, large investments were required in residential and urban areas. However, Turkey’s capital accumulation processes in the period did not allow for such an extensive investment. Turkey had to reduce its urbanization costs in order to make investments in employment for new arrivals to Istanbul. One of the ways to accomplish this was to develop the slums. The fact that the cities of this period were referred to as “shanty towns” “stuffed” or “shoddy’ is an indication the cheapening components used during urbanization. The demand for public transportation could not be met by the local administration, but was left to small capital owners. While the number of organized jobs provided was small compared to the available labor force, the solution for employment was left to the creativity of the informal sector.37

The experiences of Turkey and other countries demonstrate that the legitimizing framework introduced by the modernity project could not be easily abandoned. The elite members of the city were not ready or able to create a legitimizing framework that was in keeping with the new arrivals to the city. The modernity project closed their minds to such a process. The solution was the expulsion of these groups back to their villages. Upon realizing the impossibility of this in practice, the solution arrived at was to make changes in zoning. These changes did not bring any new legitimizing framework for the slum sectors of the city, but only forgave construction at a particular time and location. From this time on, the legitimizing framework of the modernity project would be valid once again. Everyone understood that this could not be realized. In addition, it cannot be said that without a significant change in the amount of people arriving in the city the objective conditions which would provide a solution to the shanty towns could occur.

31- Haydarpaşa and Kadıköy (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

Istanbul’s Population Dynamics during Populist Modernity

The population of Istanbul within the municipal borders was 983,000 in 1950, 1,467,000 in 1960, 2,133,000 in 1970 and 2,773,000 in 1980. The ratio of Istanbul’s population within the municipal borders to Turkey’s population was 4.7% in 1950, 5.3% in 1960, 5.9 % in 1970, and 6.1% in 1980. However, Istanbul was congested. Around the main city, in 1980 there were 32 adjacent municipalities. If we include these municipalities in the “metropolitan population”, it is estimated that the population was 1,736,000 in 1960, 2,849,000 in 1970, and 4,643,000 in 1980. 38 The ratio of Istanbul’s population in the metropolis area to Turkey’s population was 6.3% in 1960, 8.0% in 1970 and 10.4 % in 1980. Differing from the previous period, the population explosion in Istanbul continuously increased. As expected, the main growth was in the municipalities around Istanbul.

During this period, the increase in the metropolitan population consisted of three elements. The most important of these was the immigration to Istanbul from across Turkey, mainly from the Black Sea coast, due to the rapid urbanization Turkey was undergoing. It can be seen that Istanbul’s population completed its demographic transition by the 1940s. However, the new groups arriving in Istanbul had high fertility rates. These groups would force Istanbul to undergo a transition. The third element was the population that was added to the city when new regions were added with the expansion in the metropolitan area.

It can be said that the diversification dynamics regarding the characteristics of the population continued in this period, as it had in the previous period. The ethnic homogeneity of the population continually increased. Unfortunately, we do not have data for the previous period. The Armenian population dropped to 29,479 in 1965, whereas it had been 37,280 in 1960. The Greek population decreased to 35,097 in 1965, whereas it had been 49,081 in 1960. The Jewish population dropped to 8,606 in 1965, from 16,754 in 1960. With these numbers, the effect of the Jewish population who left Turkey after the foundation of Israel can clearly be seen. In the following years, we cannot follow such movements from the censuses. The population of foreigners dropped to 10,303 in 1980, from 17,855 in 1970 census.

Transformation in the Administration of Istanbul and Improvement in Zoning Laws during Populist Modernity

The legal and executive framework of Istanbul’s administration in this period was based on Belediye Kanunu no. 1580, which had gone into effect in the previous period. The Democrat Party maintained its “combined administration” structure, which it had inherited from the single party regime, until 1957. In 1956, municipal branch managers were assigned to the municipal branches, which were distinct from the kaymakams. On March 1, 1957, the municipality and local authorities were separated and municipal and local authority practices were transferred to the municipality and provincial councils, both of which were elected separately.39

In this period the city had spilled beyond the municipal borders as a result of rapid urbanization; as a result, the question of how to include regions that were outside the municipal borders into the zoning laws emerged. In order solve this problem it was decided to expand the municipal borders. However, this decision could not be implemented without ratifying the İller Yasası (Provincial Administration Law).40 When such a change became impossible, the expansion of slums areas in the municipal border led to the formation of new districts and municipalities; the districts became new counties and municipal branch managers were assigned here. In 1963, there were 12 municipalities in the Istanbul Metropolitan Borough in addition to the main municipality. These had developed in areas adjacent to the main municipality.41

Following Adnan Menderes’ attempts to transform the zoning of Istanbul into his own political project in 1956, some improvements started to be seen in İmar Mevzuatı (public housing laws). On July 16, 1956, the İmar Yasası (Zoning Law) No. 6785 was enacted. With this law, the detailed records of the Yapı ve Yollar Kanunu (Construction and Roads Acts) No. 2290, which was a regulation, were done away with and a flexibility which enabled drawing up plans keeping with the identity of every city was provided for city planners. The most interesting article of this law was Article 47, which made it possible to enforce zoning laws outside of municipal borders. According to this article, in areas that were contiguous with municipal areas, İmar Yasası decrees could be enforced on the advice of the municipality, a decision from the provincial community council and the approval of the Public Works Ministry. Zoning regulations which were in keeping with Law No. 6785 and which were distinct for every city were designed by the Istanbul Municipality and the law came into force with the approval of the Public Works Ministry on January 17, 1957.42

Another important improvement was the adoption of the İstimlak Kanunu (Expropriation Law) No. 6830 on September 8, 1956. Nearly 50 expropriation laws had existed before this law were passed, causing great confusion. With this law the problems inherent in expropriation were dealt with and zoning practices were accelerated. Fifteen days after this law had been enacted Adnan Menderes planned to start zoning operations in Istanbul. In addition to the above measures, with Law No. 7341 an article was added to the zoning laws. According to this article, other than properties which had to be expropriated as they were near a road, green field or park that was to be widened could be expropriated if the land was indicated in the plan. The article that made expropriation practices economic for the municipalities was annulled with Act no. 369 in 1964.43

The Ministry of Public Works and Housing was established with the ratification of Law no. 7116 on May 14, 1958; at this time the prime minister perceived zoning practices as the most important political activity of the ruling party. The Public Works Ministry transferred its duties of zoning and housing policies, supervision of construction materials and disasters to this ministry. The ministry was considered to be a research and planning ministry rather than an enforcement and investment ministry. This ministry was now the authority for approving zoning plans prepared by the Istanbul Municipality.

The most important legal arrangement in respect to the populist modernity period was made with the Gecekondu Kanunu (law On Shanty Towns) No. 775, enacted on July 20, 1966. It can be said that, apart from those regions in which the zoning law was enforced, a duality existed in social reality; this was reflected in the laws with the adoption of separate zoning plans for shanty towns and a sensitivity to the quality of life of low-income groups.44

After the problem of the shanty towns had been acknowledged, the number of new municipalities surrounding the main urban municipality gradually increased. The number of these municipalities in Istanbul rose to 32 in 1979. This situation caused serious coordination problems in the construction of the basic urban infrastructure. The most problematic aspect of the infrastructure in this respect was Istanbul’s sewage system. The World Bank, which was going to provide the necessary finances for the implementation of this project, stipulated that a union of metropolitan municipalities should be established. The municipalities in the metropolitan area thus came together to establish the İstanbul Belediyeler Birliği (Istanbul Municipalities Union) on March 7, 1979. Thus, an organization that was superior to the municipalities emerged.

Reshaping the City during the Populist Modernity Period

According to the normative order of radical modernity, the growth of a city and the regional distribution of population should be directed with planning. Prost’s plans enabled supervision, to some extent, of a city that was growing slowly during the pre-World War II. However, in the post-war period, when Istanbul started to grow rapidly, the inability to produce sufficient plans, and the intense land speculation thwarted such supervision. After Prost was removed from office in 1950, planning was assigned to the Müşavirler Heyeti (Advisory Council). When this project was aborted, plans were drawn up by Piccinato and Högg. However, the insufficiency of planning in a rapidly growing city caused Adnan Menderes to start zoning operations. In reality, this was rooted in political stratagems. Traffic problems of the exponentially growing city made life in Istanbul unbearable. In fact, Adnan Menderes’s methods, did not fit into the plan set by the modernist framework. Not only the shanty towns, but also the state, went beyond the modernist legitimacy in this period. In the aftermath of the May 27 military coup, when legitimacy based on plans began to be regenerated, this was not efficient. There were attempts to systematize the regional planning approach after it obviously insufficient in view of rapid urbanization,. As a result, Istanbul’s development was managed in a half-planned, half-unplanned manner.

This half-planned development was not compatible with a modernist legitimizing framework. A recommendation was made in the National Security Council on July 20, 1965 to zone Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir metropolitan areas as soon possible. The Büyük İstanbul Nazım Plan Bürosu (greater city planning bureau) was established by the Minister of Development and Housing in 1966.45 The projects of this bureau did not contribute much to the planned development of Istanbul.

It can be said that three factors were influential in the shaping of Istanbul during the period of populist modernity. The first of these was the change in the construction of the central business district; the second was the redistribution of industry to urban space and the third was the construction of the Bosphorus Bridge and urban motorways.

In this period, during which the population grew and the metropolitan space expanded rapidly, the metropolitan business district (MBD) expanded to new areas, while new diversity occurred in its internal structure. Some of the centers that had acted as district centers were transformed and became part of the MBD. The MBD before 1950 was made up of three different closely-knit areas. The first of the districts was between Eminönü, Sirkeci and the Grand Bazaar. The second covered the entire area of Karaköy, Perşembepazarı and Bankalar Street. The third one included İstiklal Street and nearby Tepebaşı. Conglomerations of trade and service activities in areas like Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Beşiktaş, Aksaray and similar areas were more inclined to be local centers. During the populist modernity period, part of the MBD on the Historical Peninsula served as an incubator, and some sections with growth trends and service functions were sent outside the city center. On the other hand, part of the MBD towards Taksim-Şişli expanded to Mecidiyeköy and beyond. The extension of the MBD to Mecidiyeköy, Gayrettepe and Büyükdere Street led to this location becoming the banking and insurance headquarters, where foreign banks, the headquarters of large companies and multinational corporations were centered. Istanbul MBD’s most important control center was concentrated at this end. In this formation, the fact that this area was easily accessible by high-income vehicle owners, following the building of motorways and the Bosphorus Bridge, highly influenced this formation. Some sections of local urban centers also became part of the MBD.46

32- Üsküdar, the two banks of Bosporus and the Golden Horn

The main factor determining the shape of the city during this period was the regional dispersion of manufacturing facilities, which was the result of proliferating industrialization in Istanbul. In the previous period, manufacturers had been clustered along the Golden Horn and MBD. In this dispersion, the share of electricity generated by auto producers on the Golden Horn was high. However, because electricity began to be supplied by interconnected systems, the decentralization of industrial establishments in the metropolitan area became easier. Small and middle scale industrial facilities were unable to move away from the city center. Decentralizing away from the historical peninsula, these facilities were situated on a curve stretching from Eyüp to Zeytinburnu outside the city walls and municipal borders. Four industrial focal points were situated in this curve. These were the Alibeyköy, Rami-Topçular, Topkapı-Sağmalcılar, Kazlıçeşme-Zeytinburnu areas. Industry was dispersed along the roads that led from these areas. The dispersion of the Rami-Topçular area took place on the axis of Gaziosmanpaşa (Taşlıtarla)-Küçükköy. Three focal points emerged to the north of the Golden Horn. These were Kağıthane, Bomonti-Feriköy and Levent-Esentepe. On the west side of the Bosphorus, some conglomerations occurred in Ayazağa, İstinye and Büyükdere Valley; on the east side of the Bosphorus conglomerations were found in Beykoz-Paşabahçe, and on the Anatolian side in Kartal, Maltepe-Cevizli and Kartal-Taşocakları zones. 58.2% of the labor force was in a circumference that was at a 4 to 9 kilometers distance from MBD. This rate was far from the industrial dispersion of a metropolitan area or the necessary regional distribution of manufacturing sites.47 For this reason, it would be correct to call Istanbul at this time an “enormous industrial city” instead of “a metropolitan area”.

The labor needs of the city were met by new immigrants. This population was living in shanty towns near industrial areas. The dispersion of industry and shanty towns was parallel to one another. The first shanty town appeared in Zeytinburnu and this was followed by the Taşlıtarla shanty town. Those built in Osmaniye served the industrial areas of Bakırköy. The Küçükköy, Sağmalcılar, Esenler, Güngören, Bahçelievler, Şirinevler, Safaköy and Halkalı shanty towns formed just beyond the city walls on the Historical Peninsula. The Alibeyköy shanty town was at the intersection between the Historical Peninsula shanty towns and the shanty towns to the north of the Golden Horn. The Kağıthane, Gültepe and Çağlayan areas developed to the north of the Golden Horn. The Mecidiyeköy, Kuştepe and Gültepe shanty towns supplied labor to the industrial areas of Levent and Bomonti. The Nafibaba and Baltalimanı shanty towns were situated on the west side of the Bosphorus. The first shanty towns on the east side of the Bosphorus developed in Beykoz. Nearby, Üsküdar, Selamsız, Sineklitepe (Libadiye), Çengelköy and Ümraniye shanty towns emerged. The first important shanty town development occurred in Fikirtepe near Kadıköy. Along the Ankara highway, shanty towns were located in Küçükyalı, Gülsuyu in the north of Maltepe, Topselvi, Yeşilbağlar near Yakacık, and Göçmen to the west of Tuzla; in the north, Taşpınar, Kaynarca near Gebze were also places where shanty towns appeared.48

Residentially zoned areas in the city were generally filled with apartments. The cost of land rose in this flourishing city. At these prices it was impossible for the middle class to own a detached house built on a single parcel of land. The middle classes could only buy a residence if the cost of the land was shared; in other words, apartments. Such purchases enabled land costs to be shared and later institutionalized. Thus, an amendment was made to the Tapu Kanunu (deeds law) of 1954, enacted in 1965, prepared the foundations for the building of a large number of apartments.

This building of apartments was generally carried out by three different actors. These were Emlak Bank, cooperatives and builder-sellers respectively. The Emlak Bank attracted the upper income, educated sector of the city by creating high quality residential areas in the Levent and Ataköy districts. If one examines the activities of the bank during this period, it can be seen that although the bank set the first examples in public housing development, it did not deal with the housing problems of the low income sector and targeted supplying only good quality residential areas for upper middle class income groups.

Cooperatives were established by both white and blue collar workers; these were established in zoned areas in order to take advantage of loans. Among these were Şeker Company in Ortaköy, followed by Bebek, Etiler, Kalender in Yenikent and Zümrüt Evleri in Sarıyer. On the Anatolian side, most of the cooperative supply was set up to the north of Bağdat Street and up towards Yakacık.49

A large part of building of apartments was carried out by small entrepreneurs, called builder-sellers; these individuals generally demolished existing buildings and built larger ones in their place. Some part of this apartment style took place between the Londra Asphalt and the coast. Yeşilyurt and Bakırköy were areas in which this conversion had a great impact. On the Historical Peninsula, within the walled city, the areas of Aksaray, Saraçhane, Fatih, Halıcılar, Karagümrük, Haseki and Fındıkzade, and to the north of the Golden Horn, the areas of Topağacı, Teşvikiye, Nişantaşı Osmanbey, Şişli and Mecidiyeköy were transformed by this process. Empty areas in these districts were filled with new buildings. On the Anatolian side, the area between Kadıköy and Bostancı underwent a similar kind of transformation. Apartments constructed by builder-sellers were located to the south of Bağdad Street. Between Bostancı and Tuzla, low-density single-story garden houses were built. Because of a larger enterprise between Tuzla and Gebze, the Bayramoğlu Coastal Housing Estate was built. In this period, the first examples of public housing developments, which were to be dominant in the later period, as well as examples of builder-seller housing developments began to emerge.

A second dimension that existed within the first dimension of the reconstruction was the decentralization trend in the urban space; this led to an increasing rate of vehicle ownership on the one hand, and the running of service buses or private buses for employees on the other hand. In addition, the accelerating trend for building large complexes instead of single buildings increased this decentralization. For example, the quest for making a transition to public housing can be seen in the establishment of industrial zones, industrial markets, transporters around the MBD, as well as ironmongers, wholesale market halls, the moving of groups of people to destinations that were more convenient for new transportation opportunities and the establishment of public institutions that did not carry out intense public relations on the outskirts of the city.

As well as connecting the two sides of the city, in 1973 the Bosphorus Bridge and the motorway connections introduced a fundamental change in urban accessibility. This led to a reconstruction of the urban space. It changed the prestige rankings in the urban space, opening new areas to speculative activities and creating a new MBD. In zones that were more accessible there was a trend towards density and renovation. A decentralization trend, especially in manufacturing activities in the MBD and nearby, came together with accessibility and created a high demand for construction on both sides to the north of the Bosphorus. This in turn raised the serious problem of conserving the natural beauty of the Bosphorus.

While Istanbul was seeking a solution to the problems of small entrepreneurs in a period in which there were serious capital limitations, it was not possible to improve the public transportation system. The city grew with single building additions and buildings spread over the urban space like an oil stain and put pressure on the city centers. This style of growth revealed the destructive aspect of modernization by encouraging the build-demolish processes. Due to the fact that heating was carried out using coal high in sulfur dioxide, severe air pollution began to occur.


Overall, the transformation story of Istanbul before the 1980s occurred under the influence of the modernity project as summarized above. After that date, Istanbul’s transformation process went in a new direction. With the changes in the policies adopted after the1980s, due to increasing relations with the outside world, the influence of great transformations that started around the world deepened and accelerated. The features of world cities were redefined to a large extent, going from the Ford assembly line to flexible production, from an industrial society to an information society, from a world of nation-states to a global world; modernity could not reproduce itself and it was eaten away by postmodernist criticisms. As a result, in the fields of science, ethics and art, postmodernist developments occurred, which began to influence Turkey as well.50

The dissolution of the Socialist Bloc in 1989 and the transformation of East European countries and Russia into market economies offered new opportunities for Turkey, especially Istanbul. The city grasped the chance to become a “world city”, something that it had lost in the aftermath of World War I. From the mid-1990s, politicians and business circles agreed on the vision of “Istanbul, a livable world city”. Turkey’s full membership application for EU membership strengthened this vision.

By gaining recognition as a world city, Istanbul had reorganized its international economic hinterland and emerged as a financial center; it now began to export capital to this hinterland, attracting attention as a focal point of art and culture. The population of the city rose above 10,000,000 and the city transformed into an “urban region”. Today, a large number of residential areas —extending from the center of the city to rural areas—are connected to one another thanks to media and electronic devices, such as telephones, TVs, computers/internet.

Underlying this is the replacement of the vertical integration of Ford assembly production with vertical disintegration and flexible production; all this lead to the improvement of the horizontal integration. In parallel with this, industries, services and even residential areas moved away from the center and created new focal points. By abandoning the center, some of the functions in the center spread to the urban areas and thus reconstruction of the center became possible. Since a large number of institutions in the city center selected places in the urban space and retail trade became located in shopping malls in locations that were easily accessible by motorized vehicles, it was hoped that these centers might reduce these problems. In short, while Istanbul was becoming a world city, particularly after 1990, it underwent a transition from a single-centered, enormous industrial city to a multi-centered urban area. Attempts were made to accelerate this transition through politically led urban transformation projects.


1 For an intellectual historical approach to this topic, see: İlhan Tekeli,“Türkiye’de Siyasal Düşüncenin Gelişimi Konusunda Bir Üst Anlatı”, Modern Türkiye’de Siyasi Düşünce 3: Modernleşme ve Batıcılık, edite by Uygur Kocabaşoğlu. İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2002, pp. 19-42.

2 Benjamin C. Fortna, Mekteb-i Hümayun, İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2005.

3 Kemal H. Karpat, Osmanlı Nüfusu (1830-1914), İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2003.

4 Necmettin Akyay, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Sağlık Örgütleri ve Sosyal Kuruluşlar, Ankara H. Ü. Toplum Hekimliği Bölümü Yayını, 1982; Nil Sarı, “Osmanlı Hekimliği ve Tıp Bilimi”, Osmanlı Devletinde Sağlık Hizmetleri Sepozyumu, edited by Bilal Ak and Adnan Ataç, Ankara: Sağlık Bakanlığı Yayını, 2000, p. 22; Daniel Panzac, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Veba 1700-1850, translated by Serap Yılmaz, İstanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı,1997; Nuran Yıldırım, “Tanzimat’tan Cumhuriyet’e Koruyucu Sağlık Uygulamaları”, Tanzimat’tan Cumhuriyet’e Türkiye Ansiklopedisi, İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 1986, pp. 1331-1335.

5 İlhan Tekeli, “Türkiye’nin Göç Tarihindeki Değişik Kategoriler”, Kökler ve Yollar, edited by Ayhan Kaya and Baha Şahin, İstanbul: İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi, 2007, pp. 449-455.

6 Justin McCarthy, Müslümanlar ve Azınlıklar: Osmanlı Anadolusunda Nüfus ve İmparatorluğun Sonu, translated by Bilge Umar, İstanbul: İnkılap Kitabevi, 1998.

7 Alan Duben and Cem Behar, Istanbul Households, Marriage, Family and Fertility 1880-1940, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1991.

8 Alan Duben, Kent Aile, Tarih, translated by Leyla Şimşek, İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2002, pp. 144, 148, 192.

9 Cem Behar, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun ve Türkiye’nin Nüfusu, Ankara: Başbakanlık Devlet İstatistik Enstitüsü, 1996, pp. 56, 73-77.

10 Nazif Öztürk, Menşei ve Tarihi Gelişimi Açısından Vakıflar, Ankara: Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü, 1983, p. 59.

11 The İhtisap Ministry carried out the functions of the city council.

12 Şerafettin Turan, “Osmanlı Taşrasında Hassa Mimarları”, TAD, 1963, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 157-202.

13 Osman Ergin, İstanbul’da İmar ve İskan Hareketleri, İstanbul: İstanbul Eminönü Halkevi Dil, Tarih ve Edebiyat Şubesi, 1938, p. 35.

14 İlber Ortaylı, Tanzimat’tan Sonra Mahalli İdareler, Ankara: Türkiye ve Ortadoğu Amme İdaresi, 1974, p. 119.

15 Steven Rosental, “Foreigners and Municipal Reform in Istanbul”, IJMES, 1980, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 227-245.

16 Ergin, İstanbul’da İmar, pp. 29-32.

17 İlhan Tekeli, “Bir Modernleşme Projesi Olarak Türkiye’de Kent Planlaması”, Türkiye’de Modernleşme ve Ulusal Kimlik, edited by Sibel Bozdoğan and Reşat Kasaba, İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1998, pp. 142-145.

18 İlhan Tekeli and Selim İlkin, “28 Aralık 1860 Tarihli Tahrir-i Nüfus ve Emlake Dair Talimatname’nin Osmanlı Modernite Projesi Açısından Okunması Üzerine”, Cumhuriyetin Harcı, İstanbul: İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi, 2004, vol. 3, pp. 27-62.

19 Nuran Zeren, Kentsel Alanlarda Alınan Koruma Kararlarının Uygulanabilirliği, İstanbul: İTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi, 1981, pp. 28-31.

20 Gül Güleryüz Selman, “Urban Development Laws and Their Impact on the Ottoman Cities in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century”, (M.A. Dissertation), ODTÜ, 1982, pp. 1-65.

21 Mübeccel Belik Kıray, Örgütleşemeyen Kent, Ankara: Türk Sosyal Bilimler Derneği, 1972.

22 Rakım Ziyaoğlu, Yorumlu İstanbul Kütüğü, İstanbul: Yenilik Basımevi, 1985, pp. 223-230.

23 Kemal Karpat, “The Social and Economic Transformation of Istanbul in the Nineteenth Century”, Bulletin de l’Association Internationale d’Études du Sud-East Européen, 1974, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 268-308.

24 Selman, “Urban Development Law”, pp. A.1-14; Ergin, İstanbul’da İmar, p. 40.

25 İlhan Tekeli, The Development of the Istanbul Metropolitan Area: Urban Administration and Planning, İstanbul: Kent Basımevi, 1994, pp. 41-47.

26 Müfid Ekdal, Bir Fenerbahçe Vardı, İstanbul: Türkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu, 1987; Sedat Hakkı Eldem, Boğaziçi Anıları, İstanbul: Aletaş Alarko Eğitim Tesisi, 1979, pp. 1-30.

27 Ortaylı, Mahalli İdareler, p. 214.

28 İlhan Tekeli,“Türkiye’de Cumhuriyet Döneminde Kentsel Gelişme ve Kent Planlaması” , 75 Yılda Değişen Kent ve Mimarlık, edited by Yıldız Sey, İstanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, 1998, pp. 1-24.

29 Yahya Kemal, Aziz İstanbul, İstanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti Yahya Kemal Enstitüsü, 1974, pp. 161-171.

30 “Boğaziçinde Bayındırlık Hareketi”, Boğaziçi, 1936, no. 3, p. 4, 8.

31 İlhan Tekeli and İlber Ortaylı, Türkiye’de Belediyeciliğin Evrimi, Ankara: Türk İdareciler Derneği, 1978, p. 45.

32 Tekeli and Ortaylı, Türkiye’de Belediyeciliğin Evrimi, p. 80.

33 İstanbul İl Yıllığı, İstanbul: Milli Eğitim Basımevi, 1967, p. 113.

34 İsmet Kılıçaslan, İstanbul Kentleşme Sürecinde Ekonomik Yapı ve Mekân İlişkileri, İstanbul: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Mimarlık Fakültesi Yayınları, 1979, pp. 225-229.

35 “Şehrimizin İmarına Doğru”, İstanbul Belediye Mecmuası, 1938, vol. 14, no. 163-165, pp. 781-798; Aron Anjel, “Henri Prost ve İstanbul’un ilk Nazım Planı”, Mimarlık, 1987, no. 1, pp. 34-39.

36 Abidin Daver, Dünkü Bugünkü Yarınki İstanbul, İstanbul: İstanbul Belediyesi, 1944.

37 İlhan Tekeli, Yiğit Gülöksüz and Tarık Okyay, Gecekondulu, Dolmuşlu, İşportalı Şehir, İstanbul: Cem Yayınevi, 1976.

38 İlhan Tekeli, “Yüzelli Yılda Toplu Ulaşım”, İstanbul, 1992, vol. 2, p. 27.

39 Saffet Gürtav, “İstanbul’da İdari Reform İhtiyacı”, İstanbul Bölge Kalkınma Kongresi, İstanbul: İstanbul Bölge Kalkınma Derneği Yayınlar, 1967, p. 231.

40 Hürriyet, August 5 1955; December 14 1956.

41 İstanbul 50, Istanbul 1973, pp. 60-173.

42 İlhan Tekeli, “II. Dünya Savaşı Sonrasında Türkiye’nin Kent Planlama Pratiğindeki Gelişmeler”, İmar Planları Yapım ve Uygulama Süreçleri, Ankara: Şehir Planlama Mimar ve Mühendisler Odası, 1981, pp. 10-16.

43 Tekeli and Ortaylı, Türkiye’de Belediyeciliğin Evrimi, pp. 148-149.

44 Tekeli and Ortaylı, Türkiye’de Belediyeciliğin Evrimi, p. 212, 213.

45 Büyük İstanbul Nazım Planı Raporu, İstanbul: Büyük İstanbul Nazım Plan Bürosu Başkanlığı, 1971.

46 Erol Tümertekin, “Central Business Districts of Istanbul”, Review of the Geographical Institute of the University of İstanbul, 1965-1968, no. 11, pp. 21-36.

47 Ernest H. Jurkat, “Study of Present and Future Land Use and Job Training Requirements in the Istanbul Area”, October 1963, pp. 23 (Report).

48 Charles W. M. Hart, Zeytinburnu Gecekondu Bölgesi, İstanbul: İstanbul Ticaret Odası, 1969, pp. 126, 128; 13 Büyük Şehirde Gecekondu, Ankara: Mesken Genel Müdürlüğü Araştırma Dairesi Yayınları, 1964, s. 8; Tansı Şenyapılı, Gecekondu Çevre İşçilerin Mekânı, Ankara 1981, pp. 180-186; Kemal Karpat, The Gecekondu, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976, pp. 65-84.

49 Ruşen Keleş, Türkiye’de Konut Kooperatifleri, Ankara: İmar ve İskan Bakanlığı Mesken Genel Müdürlüğü, 1967, p. 45.

50 Yerleşme Bilimleri/Çalışmaları İçin Öngörüler, Ankara: Türkiye Bilimler Akademisi (TÜBA), 2006.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.