This essay examines the politics of the Istanbul Master Plan, which was created by the Istanbul Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design Center (IMP), focusing on the role of non-governmental organizations. The essay addresses three main questions. First, to what have NGOs been involved in the formulation, implementation, and oversight of the Istanbul Master Plan? Second, what form has their activism taken and what has been the response of the AKP government? And third, what are the prospects for achieving the balance between conservation and development originally envisioned by the Istanbul Master Plan?