Houses of the people, for the people, by the people?

Houses of the people, for the people, by the people?19/12/2015 (Today’s Zaman – Turkey): The phrase “People’s House” conjures up images of the Soviet era. In true Orwellian style, the name that suggests the ultimate in egalitarianism usually in practice referred to a building for the ruling elite, the party apparatchik or myriad bureaucrats.The most striking example is of course the Parliament Building in Romania. Commonly called the Casa Poporului (People’s House). It is the largest non-military administrative building in the world, the most expensive bureaucratic building and, strangest of all, the heaviest building in the world. Must be all that steel, bronze and marble!As well as being the home of both chambers of Parliament, it also boasts an international conference center, a museum of modern art, a palace museum and the mind-bogglingly named Museum of Totalitarianism and Socialist Realism.This is all a far cry from the Turkish version of a People’s House — Halkevi. As a Londoner, my first experience of the phrase referred to the cultural center in Dalston Lane in Hackney. This is a registered charity, partly funded by municipality grants that exist to meet the welfare, social health and educational needs of the local Turkish community…



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