İstanbul’s delicate historical bazaar not protected from ‘James Bond’

İstanbul’s delicate historical bazaar not protected from ‘James Bond’

Three motorcycles rode on the roof of İstanbul’s historical Grand Bazaar, which was built in 1785, during the shooting of a scene for the latest “007 James Bond” movie on Monday. (Photo: Today's Zaman)

April 18, 2012, Wednesday/ 15:52:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The latest “007 James Bond” movie, which is being filmed in İstanbul following the completion of scenes shot in the south of Turkey, drew arrows of criticism due to a lack of measures to protect the historical Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar).

During the shooting of a scene over the weekend, a motorcycle entered a historical jewelry store, located inside the Grand Bazaar, through its front window, scattering the displayed jewelry all over the floor. The owner of the store, Mete Boyberi, said his store was built between 1461 and 1489 and no measures were taken to protect it during the filming. “Who would be held accountable if my store burned down because of the motorcycle?” he asked.

On Monday, three motorcycles rode on the roof of the Grand Bazaar, built in 1785. The footage during the filming was broadcast on the evening news. The Habertürk daily reported on Wednesday that dozens of tiles cracked as a result of the motorcycles driving over the roof and that a wooden divider was put on the bazaar side so that the damaged tiles could not be seen.

According to the Habertürk report, Faruk Bektaş, a board member of the foundation of the Grand Bazaar store owners, said the motorcycles rode on plastic tiles that replaced the original tiles before filming. Bektaş said the film crew removed the tiles in an area of roughly 100 square meters and placed other tiles for the movie scenes, adding that officials from the İstanbul Governor's Office, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality continuously oversee filming at the historic building. He argued that the movie will be useful in promoting the Grand Bazaar and boost tourism.

Art history professor Gönül Cantay told the daily that the filming should have been supervised by the Directorate General for Foundations (VGM), Turkey's authority on historical buildings, or the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He said it is “unacceptable” that historical buildings are damaged for the sake of a movie. Cantay added that the problems regarding the protection of the Grand Bazaar did not start with the movie and that the building has been in need of repair for a long time.

Residents of the neighborhood where the James Bond movie is being filmed have also claimed that trees, including two centuries-old trees, were cut down for the movie. The municipality denied the allegations, saying seasonal maintenance is under way.

The Grand Bazaar is known as the oldest bazaar in the world.

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