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Isilaygursu The ion of Heritage

Isilaygursu The ion of Heritage

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Published by: Isilay Gursu on May 19, 2012
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“Private Steps at the Public Corridors: Managerial Experiments with Cultural Heritage in Turkey” M.

Işılay Gürsu, PhD Candidate IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy. Management and Development of Cultural Heritage.

Abstract: ‘Italy is like a person with many houses, but also with many debts. So we have to look at which houses are dispensable.’1 The situation which was summarized by the former Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Giuliano Urbani2, mirrors the mindset of many governments on the cultural heritage of their country. When faced with the rising costs associated with the upkeep of the rich Italian cultural heritage, Italy, similar to many other countries, has started to support the private presence at the cultural heritage institutions. The integration of the private sector came to such a point that some “dispensable” heritage of the country has been sold to private owners, while the indispensable ones became the subjects of new forms of partnerships.3 It did not take very long till similar symptoms were observed in Turkey. Being a country with a centralized approach to the management of its cultural heritage, Turkey has started to search for new models through which the economical burden of cultural heritage is not placed only on the public’s shoulders. This shift in the mindset of Turkish decision makers is traceable in different protocols, projects and organizational models that are directed to alter, partially or totally, the daily operations of institutions that are the intermediaries between the State and the cultural heritage. Three of these projects which are targeted towards the restructuring of the top visited or indispensable sites/museums form the focus point of this article. In 12 February 2009, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has signed a protocol with The Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TURSAB)4 regarding the support of the activities of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums and to increase its contributions to the country's culture and tourism.5 The project was conceived with great expectations, and was supposed to be a model for the rest of Turkish public museums which were in need of financial resources. Soon after this protocol came
Qtd in Benedikter, Roland. “Privatisation of Italian Cultural Heritage.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 10: 4 (2004): 369-389.


Giuliano Urbani, from 11 July 2001 to 22 April 2005.

For more information about Italy and privatization of cultural heritage see: Ponzini, Davide “The process of privatisation of cultural heritage and the arts in Italy: analysis and perspectives” International Journal of Heritage Studies 16:6 (2010) 508-521; Zan, Luca, Baraldi, Sara Bonini and Christopher Gordon. “Cultural Heritage Between Centralisation and Decentralisation.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 13:1 (2007): 4970 and Benedikter, Roland. “Privatisation of Italian Cultural Heritage.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 10: 4 (2004): 369-389. The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies is a Professional, non-profit organization having the status of legal person, established by Law in 1972. The main aims of the Association are, the development of the travel agency profession in harmony with the country’s economy and tourism sector, and protection of professional ethics and solidarity. http://www.tursab.org.tr/en/tursab/about-tursab_1061.html
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The full name of the protocol is: “Istanbul Archaeological Museums Sponsorship, Service and Cooperation Protocol, Istanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri Destekçilik, Hizmet ve İşbirliği Sözleşmesi”

to the heritage sites and institutions that were subject to re-shaping. Globally Convergent or Nationally Divergent Phenomena. London. “Introduction: Understanding Public–Private Partnerships in International Perspective. While these restructurings seem to concentrate on “minor details” related to the administration of these institutions.” Public-Private Partnerships: Theory and Practice in International Perspective. Implementation. Development. as individual projects they yield differences that are specific for Turkish case. s. The differences and similarities between three projects shed light on various sides of these experimental restructurings.1-8. . they find a place on the global agenda for increasing the private role in many sectors including culture. Stephen Osborne). In the light of media analysis.another one: ‘Project on the Management. An additional project which aimed to privatize the ticket offices of 54 sites was bided under the name “The Modernization and Management of the Entrance Control Systems and the Operation of Ticket Offices of Archaeological Sites and Museums”. the accumulated impression that derives from them refers to a potential change in the public understanding of state ownership of cultural heritage. Both bring interesting insight to the following inquiry: How does Turkey’s experience fit into an international perspective. (Ed: P. P. politicians’ official statements. Supply of Services and Products for the Commercial Centers of Archaeological Sites and Museums’ which was more commonly referred as the privatization of 55 souvenir shops and cafes. first-hand work experience and interviews with the main actors. this article aims to analyze the details of these new projects and investigates the process which result in the assignment of different set of values – that were not existent before. Routledge. Stephen. what are the clues that would be helpful to understand whether this is a globally convergent or nationally divergent phenomenon6? 6 Osborne. When interpreted as a bulk movement. 2000.

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