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Neighbourhoods taking action together / Istanbul claims the right to the city

On 28 and 29 January 2012, the city of Istanbul hosted two days of initiatives to launch the Zero Evictions Campaign. This is the first response to the Call signed by around one hundred inhabitants’ organizations, urban social movements, networks, professionals and prominent figures to discuss and organize resistance to neoliberal urban development projects likely to have a highly destructive effect on people’s lives.

Cases in point are the Third Bridge and Istanbul Canal projects on the Bosphorous. These projects adhere to a global city approach that, in its quest to attract investors, has no scruples in violating human and environmental rights, destroying historical neighbourhoods and forcing out the inhabitants who then have to move to distant areas. Ayazma and Sulukule, neighbourhoods that saw the eviction of thousands of people for the purposes of property speculation, are a recent wound and a lesson for us all.

The Zero Evictions Campaign supports the struggle for full respect of the legality of the right to housing throughout the world, particularly article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It is important to stress that the basic ingredients of the success achieved in several cases are the unity and solidarity of the people concerned, providing the basis for exchanging experiences, sharing strategies and building up local and international mobilization. The World Assembly of Inhabitants and World Zero Evictions Days – for the Right to Habitat provide clear proof of this determination to take action. Where Istanbul is concerned, concrete experience shows that nothing can happen without this underlying fabric of solidarity: neither international appeals nor UN involvement will get anywhere without it.

In the light of the number of proposers and their skills, we consider that the conditions have been met for creating a platform that can tackle the challenge—a collective platform, thanks to the diversity of approaches that complement each other rather than cause division.

We would therefore like to welcome the international participants, including Yves Cabannes, who coordinated UN-Habitat’s 2009 mission on evictions in Istanbul, and Cesare Ottolini, IAI international coordinator, as well as the inhabitants’ organizations and networks that will be given the chance to speak out freely as part of the collective effort to develop the Zero Evictions Campaign in this strategic city. It is their role to work together to create a shield that will protect inhabitants and build a human-scale city, the bridge between East and West that we all need.



Jan.28th Saturday:


Meeting with reps. from grassroots, associations and urban movements at Bedreddin Neighbourhood, Kasimpasa.

Welcome Speech by Suleyman Songur (Chairperson of Bedreddin Neighbourhood Association)

Lectures on ZEC and Evictions by:

Cesare Ottolini -Coordinator of International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI)

Prof. Yves Cabannes - Chair of Development Planning, Development Planning Unit, University College London


Discussions on ZEC


Tour around the neighbourhood
Tea break at Nargile Tea House.


Interviews with the Press (if arranged)



Jan. 29th Sunday:

11.00 am-14:00 pm Gezi Park Taksim

The Event: 'Neighbourhoods Get Together/Istanbul Claims its Right to the City'

11:00 am-11:45 am

Opening Speech:

Omer Kiris: Neighbourhood Associations Platform:

Solidarity Speeches:

Prof. Yves Cabannes-UCL
Cesare Ottolini-IAI

Main Speakers representing:

-Gecekondu Areas
-Historical Neighbourhoods
-Platform Against the 3rd Bridge
-Struggle for Beyoglu

11:45 am-12:30 pm

- A performance by Public Arts Lab. (an activist artists group) :The theme is on solidarity,
-Small concert by Bandista, Gunes and other bands

12:30 pm-14:00 pm.

Open Pulpit:

Neighbourhoods Speak up for the Right to the City
End the event at Inci Patisserie  (under threat of demolishment due to a renewal project), showing solidarity.

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 Farklı görüşlerden demokratik kitle örgütleri; mahalle dernekleri, kent hareketleri, platformlar, eylemciler, sanatçılar, akademisyenler, milletvekilleri ve çeşitli meslek gruplarından İstanbullular olarak ...

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El(la) siguiente Traductor(a) Voluntario(a) por el derecho a la vivienda sin fronteras de la AIH colaboró con la traducción de este texto:

Bowe Smith Philippa


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