METU JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, vol.31, no.2, pp.1-23, 2014 (AHCI)
Conservation has been recognised as the "synthesis phase" of an on-going dialectical relationship between "the old/historic" and "the new/modern". Here, the synthesis has been defined in a complex system wherein cultural, social, economic and environmental dynamics are operational at micro and macro scales. This is not a stable synthesis; on the contrary, it has been formulated and re-formulated continuously regarding the changes on the dynamics listed above. Law no 2863 on the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Property was enacted in such a period (1983) of reconsideration of the conservation approaches of the time on the international arena. With its many amendments (such as law no 3386 and 5226), law no 2863, which has been in effect more than 30 years, is the main legal document of Turkish conservation policy. To date the literature of cultural heritage conservation in the case of Turkey has been dominated by works making a historical evaluation of conservation policy and the legal framework for cultural and natural heritage preservation. However, none of these studies have compared the Conservation Law with international legislation on conservation. This study intends to shed light upon the long neglected, yet critical, concern mentioned above. Basically, the comparative analysis of Turkish and international legislations on conservation has shown that in spite of some limitations, Law no 2863 has an undoubted potential to establish a comprehensive and integrated conservation approach. Amendments (especially Law no 5226) were later made to the Law no 2863 in terms of content and implementation channels for conservation, succeeding in providing a legislative basis for the conventional norms of international legislation on conservation to which Turkey is a party. Nevertheless, some of the important gains acquired by the law of 5226-especially on the social dimension of conservation policy such as public participation- have been lost through one of the recently enacted legal documents (decree having force of law no 648). This can be interpreted as the recession of Law no 2863 from the main concerns of international legislation on conservation after 2011.