Session 6: Critical Histories, Short Papers , , , , , ,

A Tale of Two Cities: Sur Before and After

Anna Rebrii
Independent Researcher

Idil Onen
Independent Researcher

William Scarfone
Goldsmith University 

While human rights violations committed by the Turkish state during and after the 2015-2016 military operation in Sur have been well documented and severely criticized, there has been no comprehensive field research to establish the continuity between the destruction of the city’s built environment and the displacement of the population by military means and by means of the subsequent urban renovation. This continuity will be established by examining how these two interconnected aspects of state violence are employed for the purposes of ethnic governance. To this end, this research will identify the convergence of the state’s political goals of maintaining hegemonic power and economic interests behind the state’s construction plans through a) examination of the demographic profile and urban planning before and after the conflicts, b) analysis of the key beneficiaries of the developments in Sur and c) analysis of the continuity between discursive strategies of war on terrorism and urban renovation employed by the state. As victims affected by these developments have still not been compensated for their losses and continue to be subjected to rights violations by the state, not only in Sur, but also in other cities of Turkey’s southeast where the military operations took place, it is urgent to uncover the full extent of devastation brought about by both processes of military intervention and urban renovation and to identify the key beneficiaries who should be held accountable.