Turkish ministry orders removal of municipal exhibition in Istanbul

Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has ordered the removal of a temporary, mobile public forum and exhibition space at Istanbul’s Taksim Square, citing lack of permit, Bianet news site reported on Monday.

The İstanbul 2nd Cultural Heritage Conservation Board, which works under the auspices of the ministry, is set to file a legal complaint if the “Meeting Point” exhibition space, which is part of "Istanbul Reunites with its Squares" project launched by the İstanbul Municipality,  is not removed by the municipality within 15 days, Bianet said. 

The forum, placed in Taksim Square on February 15 as part of a larger exhibition project launched by the İstanbul’s opposition municipality, does not have a permit, the board said.

Taksim Square was once an emblem of Turkey's modern life and a symbolic spot for protests. Following the 2013 Gezi Park protests, the biggest demonstrations against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since he came to power in 2003, Erdoğan stepped up plans to change the design of the square.

The launch 253-square meter forum, which contains both an open and closed space, was announced by the city’s opposition mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on his official Twitter account on Sunday.