In its attempts to craft Istanbul as a "global city" and attract international business, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality --which is presently controlled by the Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP)--is spearheading an ambitious campaign of "urban transformation." The two main pillars of urban transformation are the clearance of squatter settlements on the outskirts of the city for re-development and the enforced gentrification of the inner-city slums. While these renewal projects are carried out in the name of promoting planned urbanization, upgrading the built environment and improving the living conditions of the poor, what they effectively achieve is the expulsion of the urban poor from the city center towards the urban periphery thereby exacerbating spatial inequities. This thesis discusses the emergence of competitive governance policies and the particular speculative urban redevelopment schemes that they underpin and how poor people contest displacement and dispossession through urban renewal. I focus on two neighborhoods: Basibuyuk, a site of squatter redevelopment project located on the Asian side of Istanbul, and the historic neighborhood of Sulukule - home to one of the oldest sedentary Roma communities in the world - which has been demolished as part of the local municipality's renewal project. I found that in both neighborhoods, residents' perceptions of and their abilities to withstand or avert urban renewal projects depend most notably on tenure relations, employment status, existence of networks of solidarity, the level of participation and trust in the neighborhood association, and on the availability of exploitable personal or community connections with the ruling JDP.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2010. Major: Geography. Advisor: Vinay K. Gidwani. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 130 pages, appendix I.
Remaking Space for Globalization: dispossession through urban renewal in Istanbul.
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