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Terrorism and the De-Gentrification of Istanbul

A devastating string of attacks and woeful city planning have driven away locals and tourists alike, prompting a swift process of decline.
Backstreets along Istiklal Avenue had become host to dozens of new hotels that seemed to spring up overnight. But since a March 2016 terrorist attack, many have become plagued by extremely low occupancy rates.
Backstreets along Istiklal Avenue had become host to dozens of new hotels that seemed to spring up overnight. But since a March 2016 terrorist attack, many have become plagued by extremely low occupancy rates.Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Istanbul's central Beyoğlu district experienced sweeping gentrification throughout the 2000s, as its popularity increased among locals and a boom in tourism brought more and more visitors. But a devastating string of terror attacks and woeful city planning have driven away locals and tourists alike, prompting a swift process of decline.

“Everything goes well for a couple years. Then, out of a blue moon, something happens that one can hardly anticipate in advance,” says Dr. Murat Güvenç, who heads the Istanbul Studies Center at the city's Kadir Has University. “There are bombs exploding, the country adopts a totally different future path or diplomatic standing, and the tourists are no longer coming.”