Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture: Towards a Participatory Culture?
Since it was launched in 1985, the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) programme has aimed to help cities restructure, recreate and shape their urban cultural policies. In some cities, the programme has opened up new ways for participative cultural policy-making in the long term. Istanbul’s candidacy for the programme led to a collaboration between the city’s sivil toplum kurumları (literally ‘civil society organizations’) or NGOs, private foundations and corporations, individuals and groups in the arts and culture sectors, as well as the municipality, and government bodies. While previously it had always been national or local governments, which took the lead in nominating their cities to the ECoC programme, Istanbul’s nomination was unique in that it was led by NGOs. Their involvement became the decisive factor in the city’s selection as a 2010 European Capital of Culture by the Council of Europe, ECoC Selection Panel on 11 April 2006.