Özge Eğrikar - Hürriyet / July 28 () - The colorful stairs of Istanbul’s central Karaköy neighborhood, which stood as lively remnants of the anti-government Gezi Park protests, are being demolished by the Beyoğlu Municipality at the request of the district’s residents.
Hüseyin Çetinel, who originally painted the stairs its rainbow colors, stressed the move was in response to the demands of the neighborhood’s residents.
“We met with Beyoğlu Municipality as residents of Salıpazarı and said these stairs needed to be repaired. We have been negotiating this for the past year. The municipality accepted our request and promised to reconstruct” Çetinel said.
He said the demolishing of the stairs is part of wider infrastructure work.
“Infrastructure, including natural gas, electricity and sewage, will be completely renewed. The stairs will then be rebuilt. Nobody should worry, the stairs will be painted again and be even more beautiful than they used to be” Çetinel said.
In 2013, forest engineer Hüseyin Çetinel painted all 200 steps of the Salıpazarı ramp that connects Istanbul’s Karaköy and Cihangir neighborhoods with the assistance of his son-in-law over the span of a week.
However, local authorities intervened within days and the stairs were painted back to their original dusty-grey color.
Pictures demonstrating the stairs before and after the municipality’s intervention went viral on social media, motivating people to pick up their brushes and color stairs across the country in support for Çetinel.
These steps, dubbed the “rainbow stairs” have since stood as colorful reminders of the nationwide Gezi Park protests that continued through the summer of 2013 and were marked by disproportionate police violence in the face of peaceful protests.