On The Edge I

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¬ On The Edge I

 

Turkey has been experiencing an unprecendented protest movement since June 2013. Plans for the Gezi park, yet another urban renewal programme developed without involving local inhabitants was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The reality is that it is the AKP’s entire urban and social policy, its leader, the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s delusions of grandeur that are at stake.

A growing fringe of the population are rising up against these ideological and excessive projects that have heavy social and environmental consequences. Projects that reveal the close ties between large construction companies and the town’s ex-mayor who is facing serious charges of corruption.

Tarlabasi is a central, working class district. It is a few hundred metres from Taksim Square, the epicentre of protests that erupted in June 2013. Its inhabitants are from marginalised populations and the district has been under pressure for several years. Gentrification has marched through : poverty-stricken inhabitants have been pushed out to far-flung suburbs, some of the houses that were originally built by Greeks or Armenians have been changing hands at record prices. An entire block was demolished to build a luxury shopping mall, construction was carried out by the Çalık group, run by Mr Erdogan’s son-in-law.