War and gentrification in Kurdistan

En las callejuelas de Sur, centro histórico de Aden-Diyarbakir (Kurdistan).
Hilton Garden Inn in Diyarbakir. http://wowturkey.com
Hilton Garden Inn in Diyarbakir.

Gentrification and ethnic cleansing use the same techniques, the same machines; they differ in extent, in intensity, but their strategies and aims are similar. We see it in Turkey: while in Istanbul the government bulldozed the gecekondu and other popular neighborhoods, to open new spaces for commerce and the affluent, in the occupied region of Kurdistan it displaces the traditional residents by promoting tourism and beautification of the historical cities.In the capital city of Amed, which the Turkish government calls Diyarbakir, the historical district of Sur is suffering an ’urbicide’, with over 30.000 displaced and 70% of the buildings destroyed.

On the other side of the Tigris (whose Kurdish name is Dicle) the residents of Fiskaya neighborhood still leave their doors open: they know each other, and live collectivism as a natural fact. But the streets are steep, narrow, and hard to reach for the police; moreover, its people are mostly voters of the pro-Kurdish HDP party, and symphatisers of Abdullah Ocalan’s banned PKK. Thus, the neighborhood represents a problem for the Turkish government, that addresses it as in Istanbul’s Sulukulé and Tarlabase: by offering to the residents apartments in the newly built TOKI public housing uphill. Many residents accept them to escape the discomfort of living in their old houses; but others see the project as an attack to the culture of their community, through the destruction of the neighborhood, urban renewal and ‘regeneration’, together with the anonymity in which residents will be secluded after relocation in the new apartments.

Urbicide in Sur. Source: @syndicalisms

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