‘Graffiti instead of vertical gardens’ causes debate in Istanbul

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Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has ripped off the vertical gardens attached to the city walls and has drawn graffitis on it instead, with an excuse that “it costs cheaper,” which stirred an environmental debate on Oct. 13.

“Municipality presents these painted ugly walls instead of vertical green walls on sidelines to the residents of Istanbul,” wrote Mehmet Emin Birpınar, deputy to the Environment and Urbanisation minister, on his Twitter account.

Hilmi Türkmen, the mayor of the Üsküdar district, criticized the municipality too.

“Those flowers and plants that are removed were not just nature-friendly part of the landscape, they were put scientifically to suck the exhaust gas and traffic noises,” wrote Türkmen on Twitter.

“They took off the green leaving only walls and chemical paint behind. I leave this to the public conscience,” added Türkmen.

The municipality defended the project called “Talking Walls,” in a written statement. “The works that will be done on the walls will show the abstractions of Istanbul’s energy.”

“This composition, consisting of concepts like nature, unity, peace, home, neighborhood, youth, respect and communion, will come to life with the colors of nature,” added the municipality in the statement.

Speaker of the municipality, Murat Ongun, stressed the cost of the vertical gardens on his Twitter account. “With the graffitis, the walls of Istanbul will be colorful. We will save the city from the high cost and convert the city walls into art paintings.”

Uploading a photo showing the metal barriers that hold the vertical gardens attaching to the walls, Ongun said, “Temporary renewals of the green and the decayed pots are serious costs.”

Hurriyet Daily News

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