UNESCO world heritage meeting in Istanbul suspended

The development comes in wake of the military coup in Turkey.

Paris: UNESCO suspended its world heritage meeting in Istanbul Saturday in the wake of Turkey's attempted military coup, the organisation said.

"The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee is suspended until further notice," the Paris-based body said in a statement on its website.

Soldiers and tanks took to the streets late on Friday and multiple explosions rang out throughout the night in Ankara and Istanbul, the two biggest cities of the strategic NATO member of 80 million people.

The meeting, which began on last Sunday, was deciding whether to give world heritage protection to 29 sites across the world.

The most headline-grabbing of its discussions centred on whether it would list some of the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier's most iconic modernist buildings.

A decision had been expected Sunday.

UNESCO has twice rejected previous bids to give its protection to Le Corbusier's utilitarian concrete buildings, which had a huge impact on urban planning across the planet.

Seventeen of his projects, stretching from La Cite Radieuse housing project in Marseille, France, to the city of Chandigarh in northern India, which he laid out, were being considered.

While his stark designs were revolutionary, in the years following his death in France in 1965 they were also blamed for urban alienation.

Le Corbusier's legacy has been further complicated by revelations about his political views, with biographers claiming he was "an out-and-out fascist" and anti-Semite who collaborated with France's wartime puppet Vichy regime.

Despite the claims, the architect, whose real name was Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition in Paris last year.

( Source : AFP )
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