chapter  6
23 Pages

Modelling Citizenship in Turkey’s Miniature Park

Withúpek Türeli

The Golden Horn (Haliç) suffered over a long period from industrial pollution. Its rehabilitation became an issue as early as the 1960s. In the second half of the 1980s, the government carried out a ‘cleaning’ operation which also involved major and swift demolition of properties crowding its shoreline. Green parks were created on reclaimed land along the shores but they remained desolate because of the lack of activity. Then the government started encouraging cultural investment around the Golden Horn. Miniaturk, Turkey’s first nation-themed park of miniature models, which opened in 2003, is part of the latter phase of this urban regeneration campaign which focuses on culture-led revitalization (figure 6.1). As its name makes plain, Miniaturk presents a ‘Turkey in miniature’. Its main outdoor display area features 1/25-scaled models of architectural showpieces chosen for their significance in the city’s and Turkey’s history. As a site of architectural miniatures, Miniaturk provides an escape from the experience of the everyday. But it must also be understood in dialectic relation to gigantic new sites of global capital as well as to gigantic older sites of nation building. This chapter seeks to interpret why a miniature Turkey appeared in 2003, and why it has been received with enthusiasm across the political spectrum.1