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Socio cultural and heritage tourism in turkey

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Firts of all, Turkey is a country which is rich of historic value and culture. As you know, Turkish Republic was founded on Anatolian land and that land has welcomed many ancient civilizations until Turkish Republic’s creation such as (East) Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, Alexander Empire, Byzantie Empire and many Turkic civilizations. As a result of this, histories and cultures of these countires are hosted by Turkey. So, Turkey is responsible and proud of remaining this deep history to the present time. Generally, Istanbul, Aegean and Mediterranean sides are favored by tourists. So, In this essay, we will find how Turkey save and imporve their historic values.

Anyway, If we step on general information about Turkish tourism and Istanbul, I can say Turkish Government were so interested to have serious developments in tourism. In early 1980’s, the government set their economic policy to liberal economy and after this the Turkish Government were able to have foreign investments and the government concentrated on the promotion and encouragement of foreign investment in Turkey.

However, according to Ministry of Tourism and State Statistics Institute, the main purposes of foreign visits are holiday and vacation, the second is historical and the rest is business and other visits. So, 60% of the foreign tourists are from Europe; Germany, UK and France are sending important propotion of tourists to Turkey which means they are serious tourist sources for Turkey. Recently, Commonwealth of Independent States(C. I. S) and The U. S. A tourist numbers seriously increased. Therefore, Turkey is normally well known in sun-sea-sand holiday trips and this is the main reason for being in world toursim market. To take more tourist’s attention Turkey offer more reasonable prices to the tourists and as a result of this, foreign tourists stay long but they are not in high-income groups in their own countires. The first aim of taking attentions of tourists is to send them to Mediterranean and Aegean beaches. Fortunately, these coasts have sandy beaches and beautiful sea but at the same time, the unspoilt historical ruins are taken good amount of tourists. The reason is Western European tourists are commonly interested in Graeco-Roman and early Christian heritage of the cities of Western Turkey. However, Islamic Seljuk, Ottoman or Kemalist(Ataturk) Heritage are unknown and because of this there is lack of interest in them. Istanbul, Izmir and Bursa and regions such as Cappadocia and Galatia are leading cities where the historical ruins were located(Ashworth & Tunbridge, 2000).

Anyways, After trying few tourism strategies, Turkey made the program “ The 5-Year Development Plan” . In this programme the main aim is to take rich tourists’s attention to Turkey and prodive good offers on nature and alternative tourism. In first step, they tried to resolve main problems of the Turkish tourism sector could be classified as follows; investment, avdertising-marketing, developing alternative tourism varieties, educated personnel, seasonal variations, intercapacity, management, administration, infrastructureurbanisation and lack of coordination. As well as the Southern and Aegean coasts, the high potential of the Eastern Black Sea, East and South-East Anatolian regions of the country are developed and promoted according to these new policies (Dinçer & Istanbullu Dinçer, 1999). Further, in theareas of environmental sensitivity, social welfare and productivity, the Ministry of Tourism has been trying to realise some projects as follows: projects for infrastructure and diversificati on of tourism, research and evaluation activities, efforts for the allocation of public land, special project s and educational activities (Istanbullu Dinçer, 2000).

In 2002, 6, 812 registered sites or centres(5, 278 archeological, 831 natural, 188 urban, 125 historical and 390 other sites or centres) were recorded by the Ministry Of Culture. On the other hand, 64, 963 registered “ Immovable Culturaland Natural Values” were recorded in the same report. Nine of them are listed in UNESCO World Heritage List, they are ; Istanbul cultural peninsula, Hierapolis Pamukkale, Hattua-Bogazkale, Goreme-Cappadocia, Divrigi Ulu Mosque and its Hospital, Nemrut Mountain, Xantthos-Letoon, Troia Archeoligical city and Safranbolu. As a result of this, the plan was to make the historical places more valueble and noteworthy. So, the country would be heard by many of the people around the world, and it would make the country interesting in foreigners eyes, and in this way, the government tidies up the important locations. Therefore, this procces breaks the thoughts of country, I mean, It shows that Turkey is not just for summer time, it is suitable to discover and enjoy in four seasons.

However, there are really strict laws to protect historical, cultural and natural values in Turkish Republic, and many instutions are involved. Especially, this covers defending against poor urban planning, protection policies, socio-economic problems, ignorance of the public, insufficient control and alternative uses of the land(Tapan, 1998). Nevertheless, the poor urban planning and etc have been rapidly disappearing.

Anyway, Istanbul iste biggest city in Turkey, and it is very rich in historical and cultural characteristics as a result of being the capital of the Ottoman Empire and Byzantie Empire. This is why we all can smell the history in every step we make in Istanbul. The main house style in Istanbul is Ottoman, and this style flourished in the eighteenth centuries. These houses of Istanbul and Edirne have always been model styles to Western Asia and Eastern Europe(Eldem, 1993)

The planning experience of Istanbul goes back to the Ottoman Sultan of Selim the Third in the 18th century and continued with the plan of Moltkein the period of the Sultan Mahmut the Second in the 19th century. In the Republic of Turkey, the planning studies were initiated with the help of foreign experts that were i nvit ed from European countries in 1933.

In t he applications of plans until 1958, the plan of Istanbul was prepared around the existing historical city centre. For the first time in 1958, planning studies were initiated for the whole city with a new and extended model. As a result of various plans and experiences, the Marmara Region Development Plan, Urbanization Policy and Istanbul Metropolitan Field Plan were certified in 1980(Keskin & Diren, 1994). But after the revision of this plan, its integrity had been altered. Since the mid 20th century, important urbanisation decisionswere taken in Istanbul with the contribution of foreign city planners; however, in the last twenty-five years demographic problems prevented the implementation of the plans and illegal urbanisation sometimes shaped the planning studies (Tapan, 1998b). Today, 65% of the urbanisation area in Istanbul metropolitan area is formed of illegal or unplanned areas(Ekinci, 1998).

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