Image Conscious: Representing New Wealth in Turkey’s Anatolian Tiger Cities
From an economic perspective, the Anatolian Tiger cities have been the success story of Turkey. An urbanistic examination of the cities suggests success might not be long-term.
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A group of provincial Anatolian cities in Turkey has emerged as a national and even global economic phenomenon. If referred to individually, the inland cities (including Denizli, Kayseri, Konya, Gaziantep, Malatya, and Çorum) might go undetected, but their group moniker, “Anatolian Tigers,” triggers instant associations with Turkey’s global economic ascent.1 Since the 1980s, these cities have proven themselves as titans of export manufacturing, and the last decade has seen them become the exemplars of Turkey’s much-discussed liberalization policies. The Anatolian Tigers do not function as an interdependent regional network of cities, or even as a planned result of a calculated national policy; instead, they are mostly locally focused cities that share a dedicated outward-looking view toward global trade networks beyond Turkey, reaching westward but also to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The Anatolian Tigers also share a vibrant industrial spirit, being home to more than half of Turkey’s one thousand largest companies.2

This newfound wealth forces each of these cities to confront similar urban development issues. Commercial success has been the source of local pride and international praise; however, from the perspective of their physical development, success has led each city to pursue the recognizable and much replicated models of urban development easily associated with capitalistic growth. Beyond a discussion of good or bad urbanism, these cities face consequences that, in the end, could threaten the financial sustainability they have worked to accrue.

Entrepreneurial Tigers

The story of the Anatolian Tigers began in the 1980s with the initial liberalization policies of the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP). Their success has derived from manufacturing, largely as a result of the move by Turkey’s larger metropolises’ (Istanbul, Ankara, and ?zmir) shift toward post-industrial economies. National policies and international trade agreements also eased the way for these cities’ industries to grow. Turkey’s institutionalization of the Southeast Anatolian Project (Güneydo?u Anadolu Projesi, GAP) in 1989 instigated a number of water and energy development projects to support development and agriculture in the region.3 Furthermore, Turkey’s ongoing relationship-building to the East and West worked toward the cities’ advantage: for instance, the disintegration of the Soviet bloc in the early 1990s led to new ties with Central Asian countries,4 and Turkey’s signing of the Customs Union Agreement with the EU in 1995 saw tariffs drop in bilateral trade with that region.5

“The Anatolian Tigers were not tottering into impoverishment; they were modest but mostly self-sufficient towns.”

Prior to the last decades of growth, the Anatolian Tigers were not tottering into impoverishment; they were modest but mostly self-sufficient towns. A carpet production tradition dating back to the fifteenth century, for instance, is the historical basis of Denizli’s current mass-production textile industry. Gaziantep has historically exploited its geographical location between Anatolia and the Syrian border to maintain age-old trading relations with the Middle East.6 And, unable to survive from agriculture or the extraction of natural resources, Kayseri’s residents relied on trade, developing a reputation for business savvy that is at once supported by and mindful of the city’s tight-knit family structure.7 In general, these cities are known for their influential business associations, called SIADs (Associations of Industrialists and Businessmen), some of which gained even more influence through their support of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which came to power in 2002.8

Therefore, a local industriousness and an “accumulated capacity” (wealth and otherwise) undergirded the national government’s international trade policies and infrastructural projects.9 Some of the cities were home to large state-owned factories (the Sümerbank textile factories in Denizli and Malatya and a sugar factory in Kayseri, all of which have been closed down), but others, like Çorum, had a very limited state manufacturing presence. Some scholars argue that reliance on state-operated industries stunted local populations from developing a strong private sector during the first phases of liberalization; as an example, Sivas, home to many state-operated enterprises, has struggled economically, whereas nearby Çorum, with fewer state enterprises, has prospered.10 With the start of the AKP government in 2002, the Anatolian Tigers, especially those more politically linked to the AKP, began quick recoveries after global economic instability in 2001. Kayseri has likely found a further advantage in being the hometown of Turkey’s president; the city’s recently opened university bears his name, Abdullah Gül University.

For these Anatolian cities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been the greatest winners in Turkey’s economic liberalization. From another perspective, these smaller cities have flourished economically on the tails of locally owned and operated businesses with only limited state investment or subsidies.11 The labor-intensive textile sectors of several of these cities exemplify the industry’s evolution: As a result of a national economy more open to international markets, small textile workshops once focused on national markets are now able to reach broader customer bases. Some companies have become regionally recognized brand names, such as Kayseri-based ?stikbal Furniture, whose products are sold in seventy-eight countries. However, many of Anatolia’s manufactured products might surface in hundreds of countries around the world and yet remain invisible under internationally recognized names. Textile factories in Kayseri, for instance, produce the cotton thread for Mercedes car seats.

The rise of Anatolia’s SMEs has been praised by commentators inside and outside Turkey for producing an economically healthy region, with local ownership at little cost to the state. The local entrepreneur, there-fore, has become Anatolia’s hero, celebrated for having “made it on his own.” And it seems many have made it on their own. For example, Konya, with a population of about one million, is home to around 32,000 SMEs, which deliver 99 percent of the city’s gross domestic product.12 Gaziantep, Kayseri, and Denizli are listed among Turkish cities with the greatest number of SMEs, even when compared to Turkey’s larger metro-polises.13 And in the latecomer Tiger city of Çorum, the number of locally owned factories increased from fifty-five in 2002 to eighty-five in 2011.14 Çorum’s growing manufacturing industry has coincided with an increase in the number of countries to which it exports, from no more than a couple of countries ten years ago to eighty-six countries in 2011, resulting in about a 2000 percent increase in export revenues.

“There is one significant factor that all these cities have in common and which leads to even more similarities: the new middle class.”

Rapid industrialization has triggered rapid urbanization, as large numbers of migrants arrive for employment opportunities and as the cities adjust to an increase in overall wealth. This has required local leadership to respond to transforming demographics and changing expectations of the city. Turkey’s liberalization policies have also coincided with decentralization of govern-mental oversight, thus empowering local government leaders to determine their own responses to the last decade’s shifting economic landscape.

As much as the Anatolian Tigers differ from one another, there have been attempts to demonstrate how these cities collectively diverge from assumptions about capitalism. To show that Islam can be compatible with capitalism, international press and studies have focused on the religious character of these cities.15 Kayseri and Konya are perhaps the two best examples, exhibiting what some European sources have termed “Islamic Calvinism.” The two cities, with a combined population of just under two million, have pooled together their resources to promote shareholder-held companies across city borders. These cities have benefited because of religious values rather than in spite of them, as intra-community solidarity founded on mutual trust has smoothed the path toward economic success. Today in Kayseri, “home visits” are a common phenomenon among the elite industrial and political families, who make regular visits to each other’s homes, creating a community free of political conflict and industrial disputes.16

However, not all Anatolian Tigers are socially conservative or even explicitly Islamic. For example, Gaziantep is not historically religious or culturally conservative. Beyond industry, the city is famous for its nightlife with ample bars and cafés and claims to house the Middle East’s largest amusement park. Çorum also veers from this generalization: its center is contested between heterodox Alevis and orthodox Sunnis, who both remain in their respective areas of town.17 The Alevi section of the city, which includes the city’s pubs and cafés, is less developed in terms of infrastructure and municipal services than the more conservative Sunni section. In the case of Çorum, discussion about religion has more to do with conflict than with solidarity.

The Image and the Imagined

While distinctions are easy to find among the Anatolian Tigers, there is one significant factor that they all have in common and which leads to even more similarities: the new middle class, whose financial and newly de-fined social status is a direct result of the cities’ economic enterprises. Recent wealth has increased the consumption of globally recognizable products, as the new middle class wants to identify with a global society. Consequently, the cities which they call home are being reformulated to provide the circulating images of a privileged lifestyle. Development in these cities, including more advanced infrastructure for the wealthy, is a significant component of this new experience of consumption.

Middle-class consumption has fueled a booming construction sector in these cities, especially as local governments garner more power to feed consumption patterns. Since the AKP’s rise to power, the construction sector has been able to pursue large-scale interventions in the Tiger cities with the directive to transform them into “modern” cities. Increased privatization, however, does not mean the government has taken on a lesser role. Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKI) has especially supported this development. Having originally functioned as a provider of public housing and a credit provider to cooperatives and individuals, TOKI today acts more as a developer in the housing market. Though the last several decades have seen a steady decentralization of political decision making, this national agency has remained powerful and productive. Between 2003 and 2011, the agency built over 500,000 new units throughout Turkey. It has done so through its legal ability to obtain public land at no cost.18 With increased control over their own cities, municipal governments now work closely through signed protocols with TOKI in wielding this national power and determining what kind of development happens where. This collaboration has been especially successful in aiding local governments in clearing the “informal” sections of the city, further discussed below.

An earlier era for Turkey was characterized by a central planning policy, if not always fully carried out; today, local planning in the Tiger cities has become piecemeal planning at best. Cooperation with TOKI has aided local governments in implementing Urban Transformation Projects (UTPs), nationally authorized interventions into the cities’ “deteriorated areas” to “modernize” and “develop” them.19 These initiatives have resulted in large-scale residential and commercial complexes. Expansive infrastructural projects like multi-lane highways and vast parks support each city’s construction of an imagined “modern” image. Planning often takes the form of municipal authorities targeting a particular underdeveloped area for a UTP, displacing the resident population, demolishing the vacated buildings, and constructing “modern” buildings. The outcome is more image control than planning.

Denizli is an example of an Anatolian Tiger experiencing rapid, unplanned, and irregular transformation. Its central areas have become densely populated; government-approved yet privately developed high-rise apartment blocks built by so-called “one-man firms” rise disconcertingly close to one another, with little consideration of the city’s environmental sustainability.20 Through UTPs implemented by TOKI and municipalities, this type of more granular urban development is being replaced by larger urban projects that exploit more advanced technology to build taller buildings, thus sparing space for parks and other amenities. Yet there seems to be little attention paid to how diverse projects should work together.

Bolstered by their nationally granted powers and aided by TOKI, municipal authorities see these developments as fast revenue sources from levied taxes and land leases paid by firms that build and manage the new projects. Motivated by short-term gains, municipal planning often involves clearing land and identifying a developer. In this construction euphoria, traditional houses and existing urban fabric are quickly destroyed. The physical qualities that once characterized Tiger cities are now disappearing under the bulldozer. State-owned properties like factories, sports stadiums, and workers’ lodging closed down and left vacant during the initial bouts of privatization have now become the development sites of a new era, and thus the cities’ designated crowns of economic success.

Shopping mall development has become a major focus in reshaping these cities. A story that describes the regional pattern of late is the Kayseri municipality’s demolition of the landmark Atatürk Stadium, opened in 1964 as a prestigious national project. In its place a multi-use real estate project including a shopping mall, a hotel, offices, and residential towers, is being built by Multi Türkiye, the local partner of the Dutch property developer Multi Corporation.21 Like the example in Kayseri, recent all-in-one development projects offer the Anatolian cities a fortress-like combination of a mall, five-star hotels, and office and luxury residential towers.22 In its attempt at urban rejuvenation, Denizli’s Sümer Park complex goes a step further by adding advanced medical care to its commercial comforts.23 Other additions to the usual mall formula include amusement parks, ice-skating rinks, and playgrounds. The precedents for these ideas of a wealthy lifestyle originate more directly from the Middle East than from the West; Cairo’s Citystars complex, whose program is similar to the Kayseri project, might be the region’s current ideal for this kind of development.

Described as “shopping and living centers,” Anatolian shopping malls are a spatial and social response to the wealth created by Turkey’s economic liberalization: specifically, they reveal the ongoing spatial privatization of these cities. Spending time in the sterilized spaces of the malls, without any traces of poverty or disuse, is now the expected experience for the newly wealthy. Malls are also the spaces of negotiation between local and global values. Well-attended fashion shows often provide entertainment and might include veiled models; swimming pools might be segregated; and rooms for worship are provided. At the same time, shopping malls host recently recognized holidays like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. And more customary holidays, too: for instance, during Ramadan, instead of breaking fast in the traditional way at home, many residents visit mall restaurants to attend large dinner parties accompanied by live Turkish classical music.

Whether this construction boom is sustainable in the long-term, is disputable. Shopping malls signify not only middle-class success but also that of the cities themselves. And as shopping mall developments continue in each of these cities, questions of economic sustainability loom even larger. Denizli, for example, is already said to have more shopping malls than it can financially sustain.24 In the end, these development projects might prove to be just short-term means of wealth for the municipalities and local construction sectors.

“In his efforts to create a city image based on history and culture, Gaziantep’s mayor takes the Spanish city Bilbao as a precedent.”

Paired with the increase in mall development is the sprouting of suburbia. One developer of such projects aptly uses the slogan, “We are constructing new life-styles.”25 New suburban housing estates are often gated and looked after by twenty-four-hour private security and high-tech surveillance installations, bought by residents and their homeowner associations. The housing estates have their own privatized high-standard infra-structure and services (e.g., garbage collection, landscaping, street maintenance, power generation units, and water reservoirs), as well as social amenities, such as shopping centers, children’s playgrounds, and sports and recreational facilities, all of which decrease residents’ dependency on the existing city and on municipal ser-vices. From manicured roads to household “intelligent” technologies,­ private developments allow residents to purchase infrastructure and experience it as an exclusive right.26 What is offered is a lifestyle protected from the undesirable elements of city life, both social (e.g., the migrants and the poor) and physical (e.g., crowding and pollution).

Heritage and the Experience of “Modern”

Kayseri’s mayor does not deemphasize new urban development as an attractor; he has a clear idea of what will make his city famous: its shopping malls.27 Nevertheless, leaders in Kayseri, like their counterparts in the West, promote a “cultural economy” policy to not only the middle class but also tourists and prospective investors.28 Despite a general tendency to demolish, some of the Tiger cities have preserved and restored historic sites, like ancient city castles, as locales for consumable heritage and leisurely activities that match the developing middle-class values. In Kayseri, image making has mostly translated into promoting conservative Islamic values, emphasizing that a virtuous and trustworthy society should attract investors. International annual festivals have also become an expected way to show off a cultural economy: Gaziantep’s international pistachio festival, Kayseri’s international past?rma (“non-pork bacon”) festival, Çorum’s international Hittite festival, Malatya’s international apricot festival, and Konya’s international mystic music festival.

As part of this effort to increase the marketing potential of their cities, mayors have taken particular interest in museums and cultural projects. Cultural institutions function less as public amenities and more as image-building projects for a city’s marketing profile. In Gaziantep, for instance, an abandoned state-owned factory, that had become a haven for drug abusers and vagrants, has been razed and replaced with the Zeugma Museum, said to be the largest mosaic museum in the world. Opening in 2005 the museum houses the city’s mosaic collection in a modern-style building designed by a nationally well-known architect. A few years prior to the museum’s launch, Gaziantep opened what it boasts to be the largest zoo in the Middle East and the fourth largest in Europe. In his efforts to create a city image based on history and culture, Gaziantep’s mayor takes the Spanish city Bilbao as a precedent, especially the Guggenheim museum built to convey the city’s cultural heritage.29 In 2003 Kayseri opened its Kadir Has City Museum, a massive six-floor high-tech experience about the city;30 the project was executed by the municipality but privately funded by Kadir Has, a prominent Kayseri businessman. In the same year, Çorum, a city known as the ancient Hittite capital, completed the renovation of an unused nineteenth-century hospital into a new museum about the city’s history.31 Reuse of a historical building as a museum might reflect an interest in heritage preservation, but it might also result from the city’s limited finances, which could have precluded the funding of a new prestigious modern building like Gaziantep’s Zeugma Museum.

Displacing the Tigers’ Engines

Perhaps the most forceful urban interventions have materialized in the outright clearing of districts condemned for their “undesirable” elements, chiefly the neighborhoods where the migrant workers live. The Tiger cities’ economic expansions required and encouraged a migrating workforce from the Anatolian country-side and from less well-to-do cities throughout Turkey. Attracted by job opportunities, especially in the largely unregulated textile industries, migrants have accepted highly undesirable working and living conditions in exchange for less-than-modest salaries. Gaziantep is the manufacturing center of southeastern Turkey, and its migrant population proves as much: more than one-third of Gaziantep’s residents were born outside of Gaziantep, which supports the contention that it is the Anatolian Tiger with the largest assemblage of slums, or gecekondus.32 Similarly, almost twenty percent of Denizli’s residents were born somewhere else. The migrant population mostly comes from neighboring towns; between 1980 and 2007, the city’s overall population in relation to that of the greater province increased from 22.4 percent to 35.6 percent.33 Low-wage workers in Denizli most often work in the city’s textile workshops, some of them haphazardly located in the basements of apartment blocks.34 There is little evidence that the Tiger cities were prepared for, or even responsive to, the terrific influx of migrant workers.

“The Tiger cities’ slums are subsequently replaced by ‘modern’ developments that provide adequate infrastructure and social amenities but are marketed to better-off families, not to the original residents.”

Constantly increasing numbers of underpaid migrants struggle to find places to live, as housing development has not kept up with population and industrial growth in the Tiger cities. Many laborers and their families end up living in gecekondus. The informal gecekondus traditionally develop close to the factories where the migrants work, so that workers can minimize costs. Gecekondu housing is a recent phenomenon in the Tiger cities because of their later economic expansion, but such settlements have been common in Turkish metropolises since the late 1950s – the years that witnessed Turkey’s integration into a global capitalist economy through the mechanization of agriculture. As metropolises strengthened their economies through industrialization, migrants were pulled to the cities by promises of economic prosperity and job opportunities. The state, in the era of national developmentalism, was more interested in developing industry than providing housing for the poor newcomers. Through populist policies, migrants ended up in their self-built gecekondus. Throughout Turkey, neoliberal policies have favored redevelopment campaigns to raze gecekondus, the very locales that fed the era’s economic growth. The slums are often situated on central and increasingly more valuable land. Clearing of gecekondus has been justified because the slums do not service the cities’ efforts to find footing in an image-driven global economy. As they proceed to confront their own gecekondus, Tiger city leaders gain from decades of precedence and experience in national slum clearance. Denizli’s mayor stated the goals clearly: “Cities are now made beautiful not by constructing them but by demolishing them.”35

Spaces occupied by workers are vacated, and deteriorated areas are “cleaned” of their “polluting” elements, defined as “‘tumors that have surrounded our cities’” by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.36 The national housing agency, TOKI, in alliance with municipal governments, has the mission of “freeing cities of gecekondus,” in the words of an administrator at TOKI.37 The Tiger cities’ slums are subsequently replaced by “modern” developments that provide adequate infra-structure and social amenities, such as schools, cultural centers, sports fields, and parks. The urban interventions are then marketed to better-off families, not to the original residents. Displaced migrant workers are offered apartments in TOKI social housing, often further away from their work places. This housing option can be too burdensome. Agreeing to live in one of these housing projects means committing to a twelve- to fifteen-year mortgage scheme, a requirement incompatible with the already unstable lifestyles forced upon migrant workers trying to make a living in the new economy.

While UTPs are seen as supporting local construction sectors and municipal coffers, their effects on the cities’ populations are great and have potentially serious negative economic consequences. Forced from their meager housing, the migrant workers who operate the Tiger cities’ industrial plants confront even more uncertainty. In Gaziantep, for instance, a UTP in the city’s ?ahinbey District began in 2010, when about 4,640 gecekondus were identified to be demolished. They are to be replaced by a high-rise development with 15,000 new residential units for the city’s wealthier residents.38 This project is celebrated in the local press as the end of “unplanned/distorted urbanization” (çarp?k kentle?me) and as the opportunity to create modern living areas.39 In regard to recent demolition for a UTP in Çorum, the mayor denounced deteriorating “housing that gave a rural atmosphere to the city.”40 It should come as no surprise that residential towers and shopping centers were the solution the mayor believed his city needed. Claiming to pursue uniqueness, leaders of these Anatolian cities are reconstructing their respective cities to be indistinguishable from one another. In eliminating physical signs of poverty, these cities’ leaders also adversely affect an urban demographic that in no small way con-tributes to regional economic growth. In the process of creating the image of the city they believe is successful and modern; authorities have executed development decisions that potentially threaten the very engines of the urban economies that made them profitable.


While there has been a positive global outlook toward the Anatolian Tiger cities’ economic growth based on local private entrepreneurship, it has come at the expense of the cities themselves. The cities have become more economically and socially segregated than ever before. As the new middle class, under the influence of global images of consumption, buys its “imagined” lifestyle in the form of exclusive residential complexes and luxurious malls, and as the municipal governments put forward images of what a modern city should contain in order to profit from the middle class, the urban poor lose their homes and communities and likely the advantage of staying put in the cities. For the Tiger cities, famed success might ultimately mean only short-term gains for a few at the expense of long-lasting traditions in entrepreneurism and even urbanism.

1 The name “Anatolian Tigers” makes reference to the quickly developed economies of Southeast Asia, for example in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, also known as the Asian Tigers. Anatolia includes the region of Turkey east of the Bosphorus and is considered the westernmost stretch of Asia. These cities have exemplified for many, inside and outside Turkey, the economic potential of Turkey.

2 Pelin Turgut, “Anatolian tigers: Regions prove plentiful,” Financial Times, November 20, 2006, 340.html#axzz1pTiTZaLm.

3 Mehmet Tomanbay, “Turkey’s Water Potential and the Southeast Anatolia Project,” in Water Balances in the Eastern Mediterranean, ed. David B. Brooks and Ozay Mehmet (Ottawa: International Development Research Centre, 2000),

4 Fahri Solak, “Türkiye-Orta Asya Cumhuriyetleri D?? Ticaret ?l?ikilerinin Geli?imi” [The Development of Foreign Trade Relations between Turkey and the Central Asian Republics], Marmara University I.I.B.F. Journal 18, no. 2 (2003): 69-96,

5 European Commission Taxation and Customs Union, “Turkey: Customs Unions and Preferential Arrangements,” accessedMarch15,2012,

6 Editor’s note: for recent coverage of Gaziantep’s relationship with the Syrian border, please see “Bomb in Turkish town of Gaziantep kills eight,” The Guardian, August 20, 2012,

7 Fuat Keyman and Berrin Koyuncu Lorasda??, Kentler: Anadolu’nun Dönü?ümü, Türkiye’nin Gelece?i [The Cities: The Transformation of Anatolia, The Future of Turkey] (Istanbul: Do?an Kitap, 2010).

8 Sanayici ve ?? Adamlar? Dernekleri (Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Associations), or SIADs, are largely the product of Turkey’s liberalizing economy since the 1980s. The number of SIADs started to increase in the 1990s and kept increasing through the 2000s, with almost each city establishing its own SIAD (e.g. KONSIAD in Konya, ÇOSIAD in Çorum, DES?AD in Denizli, GASIAD in Gaziantep, and KAYSIAD in Kayseri). Businesspeople and industrialists with the most influence on local economies are more often than not members of the SIADs in their respective cities. See Abdurrahim Güleç, “Turkey’s Successful Economic Growth,” WirtschaftsForum Nah- und Mittelost 5 (September/October 2004): 12.

9 Ayda Erayd?n, Yeni Sanayi Odaklar?: Yerel Kalk?nman?n Yeniden Kavramsalla?t?r?lmas [New Industrial Focal Points: Re-Conceptualization of Local Development] (Ankara: ODTÜ Mimarl?k Fakültesi, 2002), 73, as cited in Metin Özaslan, “Spatial Development Tendencies and Emergence of New Industrial Districts in Turkey in the post-1980 Era” (conference paper, European Regional Science Association, August, 2006), 19, /ersaconfs/ersa06/papers/834.pdf.

10 Murat Çokgezen, “State Owned Enterprises, Entrepreneurship and Local Development: A Case from Turkey,” (report, Munich Personal Research Papers in Economics Archives 27676, January 24, 2011), 27676.

11 Ibid.

12 An SME is usually defined by national and international institutions as employing no more than 200 or 250 persons. See “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Turkey,” (report, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Issues and Policies, 2004),

13 Zerrin Özbek, “KOBI’lerin Türk Ekonomisine Etkileri” [The Effect of SMEs on the Turkish Economy], Uluslararas? Ekonomik Sorunlar Dergisi 31 (2008): 49-57,

14 Bülent Günal, “De?i?en ve geli?en kentler” [Changing and developing cities], Habertürk (Istanbul), January 12, 2012.

15 For two examples, see Pelin, “Anatolian tigers”; “Islamic Calvinists: Change and Conservatism in Central Anatolia,” (report, European Stability Initiative, September 19, 2005),

16 Keyman and Lorasda??, Kentler.

17 Religious differences have resulted in Alevis living in quarters separated from the city’s Sunni majority. Deadly attacks on Alevis in Çorum in 1980 resulted in the Alevis segregating themselves from the local Sunnis. Interestingly, offers of foreign direct investment in the city are often met with suspicion from both sides, as foreign interests might have hidden agendas of reintroducing religious conflict into the city.

18 Özlem Ünsal and Tuna Kuyucu, “Challenging the Neoliberal Urban Regime: Regeneration and Resistance in Ba??büyük and Tarlaba??,” in Orienting Istanbul: Cultural Capital of Europe?, ed. Deniz Göktürk, Levent Soysal, and Ipek Türeli (London: Routledge, 2010), 51-70.

19 Dürdane Abdal, “Kondudan Moderne Geçi?” [Moving from Kondu to Modern], TOKI Haber (Magazine for Turkey’s Housing Development Administration), July 20, 2011,

20 Ay?e Öncü, “The politics of the urban land market in Turkey: 1950-1980,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 12, no. 1 (1988): 38-63.

21 Multi Corporation, “Multi Turkiye Groundbreaks Forum Keyseri,” June 16, 2009,

22 Kayseri Park, “Kayseri Park Hakkinda” [About Kayseri Park], accessed March 15, 2012,

23 SkyscraperCity, “Denizli Sümerpark Complex U/C,” European Forums (blog), February 16, 2011,

24 P?nar Sava? Yavuzçehre, “Kentsel Mekanda De?i?im: Denizli” [Change in Urban Space: Denizli], (PhD dissertation, Pamukkale University Denizli, 2011).

25 U?ur in?aat, “Tamamlanan Projeler” [Completed projects] accessed March 15, 2012,

26 Kina? Residence, “Home,” accessed March 15, 2012,

27 Keyman and Lorasda??, Kentler.

28 Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, “Cultural-economy and Cities,” Progress in Human Geography 31, no. 2 (2007): 143-161.

29 “Baklavayla nereye kadar biz Bilbao’yu örnek ald?k” [How far can one go with the baklava; we have taken Bilbao as our model], Habertürk (Istanbul), January 11, 2012,

30 Kayseri City Museum, “Home,” accessed March 15, 2012, http://www.kayseri-kentmuzesi.go

31 “Çorum Museum,” Aktüel 23(November/December2007),

32 Serife Genis and Emin Baki Adas, “Gaziantep Kent Nüfusunun Demografik Ve Sosyo-Ekonomic Yapisi: Saha Ara?tirmasindan Notlar” [Urban Demographic and Socio-Economic Structure of Gaziantep: Notes from the Field Study], Gaziantep University Journal of Social Sciences 10, no. 1 (2011): 293-321,

33 Hasan Kara, “The Prevention of Squatter Housing and Social Housing Estates in Denizli,” U?ak University Eastern Geographical Review 15, no. 23 (2010): 103-118.

34 Most migrant workers are paid below official minimum wage; some are paid daily and do not have work contracts.

35 Yavuzçehre, Kentsel, 293.

36 Özlem Ünsal and Tuna Kuyucu, “Challenging the Neoliberal Urban Regime: Regeneration and Resistance in Ba??büyük and Tarlaba??,” in Orienting Istanbul: Cultural Capital of Europe?, ed. Deniz Göktürk, Levent Soysal, and ?pek Türeli (London: Routledge, 2010), 54.

37 “‘Gecekondular? temizlemek laz?m’" [“I need clean gecekondus"], Mynet Haber (Istanbul), February 11, 2006,

38 “{ahinbey'de toplu konut sevinci” [The Joy of Public Housing in ?ahinbey], Gaziantep27 Gazetesi, February 11, 2011,{ahinbey-39de-toplu-kon ut-sevinci&exec=page&nid=87096.

39 “Sahinbey’de kentsel dönü?üm çal??mas?” [An urban transformation in ?ahinbey], Olay Medya, January 22, 2012, nusum-calismasi&exec=page&nid =347713.

40 “TOKI’den Çorum’a büyük kentsel dönü?üm” [A large-scale urban transformation from TOKI to Çorum], Kanal D. Emlak (Istanbul), February 6, 2011,

Tahire Erman, PhD, is an associate professor of urban studies in the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.
Critical Writing

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The Square
Fiction: Contemporary Arabic and Russian Pursuits
The Imagined
New housing development sponsored by new housing authority TOKI in the Anatolian city of Gazantiep. Photograph by the author.
Gegekondus facing demolition in Gazantiep, Turkey. Photograph by the author.
Gegekondus in the Anatolian city of Gazantiep, Turkey. Photograph by the author.
Some signs of life remain in Gazantiep's gecekondu districts currently being demolished to make room for clean development. Photograph by the author.
Towers sponsored by the Turkish housing authority TOKI rise in the background of a gecekondus in Gazantiep, Turkey. Photograph by the author.
New residential tower construction in Gazantiep, Turkey. Photograph by the author.
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