Understanding the experiences of the politics of urbanization in two gecekondu (squatter) neighborhoods under two urban regimes: ethnography in the urban periphery of Ankara, Turkey
This article investigates the politics of urbanization in the Turkish context. It is built upon the premise that the "urban coalition" in the era of nationalist developmentalism, which was populist in nature, is replaced by a "new urban coalition," a neoliberal one, since the 1980s. I argue that the bargaining power of gecekondu (squatter) residents with municipal authorities for their "extra-legal" practices in building their houses in the former era was lost after neoliberal policies were adopted. This argument is substantiated by the ethnographic fieldwork in which the experiences of gecekondu residents in building, improving and (not) defending their houses and neighborhoods were obtained. Two ethnographic studies were conducted in two different sites in Ankara: a neighborhood where the Alevis were the majority, which became the site of leftist mobilization in the 1970s, and a district where conservative Sunnis lived, who supported right-wing politics. By situating the two neighborhoods in the context of the two different urban regimes, namely, those in the populist and neoliberal eras, the article points out the changing relationship of the gecekondu residents with the state, showing variances with respect to the differing political positions and social compositions of the two neighborhoods. © 2011 The Institute, Inc.