Grassroots Action Against Gecekondu Renewal Projects: The Case of Istanbul Başıbüyük and Ankara Dikmen Vadi
This thesis scrutinizes the interaction between the organizing in places where people live and the formation of working class identities in the post 2000 period in Turkey by focusing on two gecekondu neighbourhood resistances against gecekondu renewal projects. The first is in Istanbul Başıbüyük and the second is in Ankara, Dikmen Vadi. Both of the neighbourhoods organized against the urban transformation project, which aim to move them to high rise apartments with long term credit payments and build zones of consumption for middle and upper-middle classes to the places cleared from gecekondu dwellers. The research first asks the question whether the movements against the gecekondu renewal projects in Dikmen Vadi and Başıbüyük can be labeled as collective working class movement which aim to transform the social position of the working class and second whether the local movements in the neighbourhoods could transform the class subjectivities of the members of the movement. The answer to these questions is given in a comparative perspective within two neighbourhoods by employing field research method on two neighbourhoods together with the theoretical discussions around urban social movements. The research concludes that due to the different patterns of the history of the social context of gecekonduzation in Ankara and Istanbul and the organizational factors between the two movements, the trajectory of the movement in Dikmen Vadi caused the formation of the class identities by forming alliances with other class movements in Ankara however the movement in Başıbüyük stuck in its locality and dealt more with the individual property preservation motives of the people in the neighbourhood rather than establishing ties with other class movements in Istanbul to change the social position of the working class in general.