reblogged from Cihan Baysal, posted on reclaiming spaces mailing list
‘’Stand up! for Taksim Gezi Park’’ Festival organized on April 13th, continued the whole day long with the participation of thousands.
Thousands of Istanbulites resisted against the renewal project which comprises the demolishment of the public park, one of the rare open spaces of the city center with its spacious green plots and decades old trees, and the construction of a shopping mall in its place in the replica of the late Ottoman artillery barracks. The Festival was organized by the recently established Taksim Gezi Park Association under the umbrella of Taksim Solidarity. Istanbulites, from all ages, backgrounds, social and ethnic groups reclaimed Gezi Park whole day long till midnight.
Taksim Solidarity, consisting of professional chambers (architects and city planners), trade unions, grassroots, neighbourhood associations, urban platforms and urban movements, has been fighting against Taksim Project of the government, which will not only demolish one of the rare precious green plots of the city-and the more so for a city expecting its earthquake-but will also turn Taksim Square into an inanimate space by cutting its access to crowds.
Taksim Square happens to be the most important public space in Istanbul as well as in the whole country, where May 1st ralles, democratic demonstrations, New Year celebrations and all kinds of public gatherings are held. The project, while preventing the access of crowds to the square and through demolishment of Gezi Park right next to the Square, will transform the ‘’Agora’’ into a consumer space, in line with the neoliberal vision of the government.
The process was initiated by the implementation of the urban renewal project in Tarlabasi, a residential area of minorities, vulnerable groups, urban poor and low-income groups. The project has led to displacement of settled residents and unjust property transfers to high income groups.
''Stand Up for Gezi Park'' info: