2010 - Now (Modern Day): Restoration & Protection of The Palace


Renovated Tekfur Sarayi

Now we arrive at the modern day Tekfur Sarayi, which has just recently been readopted as a Lieu De Memoire. This is partially to do with Turkey's new leader Erdogan's focus on nationalism and Turkish success. The push to reinstate the Tekfur Sarayi into the cultural narrative started in 2010 with a decision to restore Istanbul's old city and historical monuments (1). Since the Tekfur Sarayi had represented prosperity and wealth throughout Istanbul's past, it was the ideal candidate to start the city's historic landmark restoration process.


Tekfur Sarayi During Recent Renovations

While the government has visually altered the Tekfur Sarayi's, its symbolic image in the cultural narrative has yet to match up with the politician's nationalistic goals. It takes time to embed a new understanding of a structure amongst people, especially in the case of the Tekfur Sarayi, which had previously been completely abandoned (1). As with all the former leaders of Istanbul, the modern Turkish government will continue their attempt to make the Tekfur Sarayi fit into their idealistic representation of Turkey (2). This process of new governments attempting to redefine a landmark to fit their hopeful view of society is actually what leads to many Lieu De Memoire's. Often a populous will reject the 'renovated' symbolism if the monument is deep-routed in their culture. In the case of Istanbul, especially during the lifespan of the Tekfur Sarayi, the constantly changing empires in control of the city has forced monuments to represent new meanings often (2). In this way, the Tekfur Sarayi is more of a cross-temporal Lieu De Memoire that can be explored throughout its history to understand the larger goals of the governing body at a given time. 

"Memory is life lived by living societies, established in its name. It constantly evolves – being open to the dialectics of remembering and forgetting, unaware of its successive deformation, susceptible to manipulation and appropriation" - Pierre Nora


Modern Day Tekfur Sarayi

As the Tekfur Sarayi's role as Lieu De Memoire is in the process of being resurrected, it is an ideal structure to explore the purposeful adaptation of monuments. It should be surprising to no one that most museums and monuments are adopted into our cultural narrative with much intentionally. It may seem paternalistic for governments to attempt shaping people's understanding of history, especially in regards to the way citizen's see or experience their own cultural landscape. That being said, no one would deny that Mount Rushmore was created by the U.S. government to portray the strength of the American democracy and yet still most people are satisfied with its place in society. Issues only arise when the monument is altered by the people in power in a way that undermines an important original message of the populous, as in the case of Soviet Russia rebranding its urban environment against the will of the people. It is tough to tell which category the recent restoration of the Tekfur Sarayi would fall under because of  Turkey's current issues with free speech (1). Only time will tell if the Turkish government can tranform this palace, as it has been transformed in the past, into a symbol of nationalism and prosperity, thus adding another layer of meaning to the Tekfur Sarayi's complex history as a cross-temporal Lieu De Memoire.

1) FERENTINOU, ARIANA. "Renovation vs. Restoration." Hurriyet Daily News. N.p., 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.
2) Featherstone, Michael, J.-M Spieser, Gülru Tanman, and Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt. The Emperor's House: Palaces from Augustus to the Age of Absolutism. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015. Print.