Populist historical landscapes that iterate locality are counterparts to global capital’s prestige projects, dubbed frequently as mega projects. Turkey’s first nation-themed miniature park Miniaturk, which opened in 2003, can also be seen as demonstrating a turning point in Turkish politics, as the “vernacular politics” of Islamism moved to the centre, into party politics, and sought to build consensus, at a time when Turkey was optimistic about its long-pending membership talks with the European Union. How to interpret, then, the “Panorama 1453 History Museum,” which opened in 2009? The “Museum” features a 360-degree immersive painting of the principle war that led to Constantinople’s fall to Ottoman Turks in 1453. Can war commemoration, which takes the form of a celebration, be the basis of consensus? The conquest of the city is the key narrative in accounts of national greatness that legitimize not only Islamists within Turkey but Turkey as a leader for the Muslim world. Examining these projects, the talk will reflect on the relationship between the visualization of urban history for political purposes, “panoramic planning,” and the broader phenomenological interest in visuality, “panoramic urbanism.”
Ipek Tureli is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.