Turkey is not only constructing new hotels but also dismantling existing ones. This week, two hotels in Turkey met their fate: one, a rather modern establishment located in Turkish Mesopotamia, was taken down under the justification that it “spoiled the city’s view.” The other was a hotel with a rich history situated in Kusadasi on the Aegean coast, where a construction mega-corporation will build a modern hotel and a complex of luxurious private residences in its place. Both instances were accompanied by controversies.
The four-story Şitamrat (Shitamrat) 3* hotel in the tourist town of Halfeti in the Turkish province of Şanlıurfa, which had been the subject of commercial and even political disputes for many years, was demolished this week. The building was brought down by a precise strike to its load-bearing structure, causing the entire hotel to collapse in just 23 seconds.
The rationale for the demolition was that the hotel did not conform to the architectural plan and the protected zone status in the area. It was constructed without the prior approval and disfigured the city’s appearance.
The remnants of old Halfeti, with a partially submerged mosque, juxtaposed with the ruins of the Rumkale fortress from the Roman and Byzantine periods, have become a focal point for both local and international tourists.
New observation points and cafes for arriving tourists and locals are planned for the site of the demolished hotel.
Another prominent demolition took place on the Turkish Aegean coast in the city of Kusadasi, where the Kismet Hotel, which had been considered one of the resort town’s symbols, was razed this week.
The hotel had once hosted numerous renowned artists, public figures, and even monarchs, including the former Shah of Iran. Interestingly, this relatively large hotel belonged to the family of Khanzada Özbaş Osmanoğlu, the grandson of the last Ottoman Sultan, Vahideddin. The demolition of the Kismet Hotel was associated, if not with a scandal, then with a rather unusual story.
In 2021, the municipality suddenly recalled that the hotel owed water fees and initiated the process of placing the hotel on forced sale. The grandson of the last Sultan promptly paid off the debt. However, a month ago, in agreement with other shareholders (including companies affiliated with the municipality), the Sultan’s grandson voluntarily sold his hotel, presumably at market value, to Avcilar Inşaat, one of Turkey’s construction mega-corporations based in Izmir.
This corporation promptly initiated the demolition of the old Kismet Hotel building this week. According to the new owner’s plans, the site will host a mixed architectural project, including a new hotel and a complex of luxury private residences, one of the largest in Turkey.