We, as NGOs, neighbourhood associations,grassroots,urban movemens and platforms plus academicians,activists,architects,planners,legal consultants,documentarists,artists,labourers, deputies… from differing political backgrounds, ideologies, and occupations; We, as the signatories to this call ,would like to announce our committent henceforth to pursue an organized resistance against urban renewal,gentrification and transformation projects, aiming to turn İstanbul into a brand city catering to global capital and property markets but not to the needs of its citizens. Namely; Against mega projects like the 3rd Bridge and Crazy Canale which aim for profit and rent rather than public good, Projects which will endanger the natural resources and cultural and historical wealth of the city, Projects,which, by demolishing our neighbourhoods,and causing forced evictions and displacement, not only ruin our living spaces but also our lives and habitats together with the decades old social networks and solidarity bonds we have built through years. Projects which present no alternative to displaced communities other than relocation to dismal Mass-Housing (TOKI) Blocks in the periphery, to the human disposal silos of TOKI, giving rise to a myriad of economic,social and cultural human rights violations plus psychological traumas. Projects which also violate the housing rights of the most vulnerable groups of transformation areas,,namely those of the renters,by leaving them to streets. Together with renewal projects, the privatizations of state schools, state hospitals and public spaces for flagship projects of the brand city, make it impossible for us to survive in the city. The gates are shown to us. We will be expulsed and excluded forever while public spaces and buildings and also those of common memory, and even open spaces reserved for earthquake emergency tents plus the shores, city parks and historical buildings and even cinemas are eitheir transformed or put on the agenda to be transformed into 5-star hotels, malls, luxurious residences and so forth.. This city,starting to turn into a brickhell, will no longer be able to breath ! What is more, this split city with the wealthy in the center and poor at the peripheries, will no longer be safe and secure. Organized and mobilized under the banner of Urban Movements against all these violations, we henceforth claim our Right to the City ,that is, our right to construct and transform the city according to our own desires and needs.


JANUARY 29, 2012 SUNDAY, 11:00 am GEZI PARK (where all the trees are red crossed to be cut for a mall project) TAKSIM SQUARE


Jan.28th Saturday:

14:00-16:00: 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 Zero Evictions Campaign (ZEC) and Forced Evictions by: Cesare Ottolini-Chairperson of International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI) Prof. Yves Cabannes- Chair of Development Planning, Development Planning Unit, University College London, and Chair of UN-Habitat AGFE (2004-10)

16:00-17:00 Discussions

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 Atakoy Part1 Neighbourhood Association Ataşehir Neighbourhood Association Ayaspasa Neighbourhood Association Ayazma Tenant Families Basibuyuk Neighbourhood Association Bedreddin Neighbourhood Association Beyoglu icin Mucadele-Struggle for Beyoglu CIFTDER Ciftehavuzlar-Esenler Neighbourhod Association Dayanışmacı Atölye -Solidarity Studio Doğal ve Kültürel Çevre için Yaşam Girişimi-Life Initiative for Natural and Cultural Environment FEBAYDER- Fener-Balat-Ayvansaray Neighbourhood Association Gencler Meydana-Youth on the Squares GULDAM-Gülsuyu-Gülensu Neighbourhood Association IMECE-People’s Urban Movement Istanbul SOS Kamusal Sanat Laboratuarı: Public Arts Lab. Kocatas Neighbourhood Konut Hakkı Koordinasyonu- Housing Right Coordination Maden Neighbourhood Sarıyer Neighbourhood Associations Platform Sarıyer Halkevleri: Sarıyer People’s Houses Seyrantepe Neighbourhood Sulukule Platform Sosyal Haklar Derneği -Social Rights Association Tarlabaşı Toplumu Dayanisma Dernegi-Association for Support of Tarlabasi Society Toz-Der-Tozkoparan Neighbourhood Association Yenisehir Neighbourhood Association

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Video from the ESF Demonstration

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Report on the European Social Forum in Istanbul by Alexia Ghobril/AISEC

As a first remark on could note, that the political context in Turkey and the conditions in which the ESF in Istanbul were organised, did not support the convention and the participation of Turkish actors, who intervene in urban questions.
Nevertheless, certain urban actors active in the city of Istanbul have regrouped, despite their differences, and have met to organise an Urban Movements Forum between the 26th and the 27th of June in order to prepare their participation at the European Social Forum and to plan, more generally, action that they could undertake together.
At the occasion of the last 26/27th of June these actors have agreed on the necessity to render the problems caused by urban transformation programs visible during the ESF. Thus a program of seminars and visits to the quarters open to all of the european and international urban actors present at the ESF was developed. Likewise, slogans and banners were prepared to allow the movements to be visible during the demonstration on Saturday.
Two visits/meetings were organised in the neighbourhoods Tozkoparan and Sariyer, that were destined as urban transformation areas, threatening the inhabitants with expulsion (and particularly those that have no property rights) or the resettlements in degraded conditions (the resettlement implies a rise in rents or an increase of indebtedness, in isolated areas with little social cohesion which still exist in the quarters visited). These urban transformation programmes had not been clearly presented by the public authorities or by the developer in charge of the project (the dissemination of information is de facto not existing), despite the petitions of the inhabitants and their associations.
These visits permitted the international participants to lay out actions of mobilisation that exist in other countries (in France, Brasil, Germany, Japan, Africa,…) and to call to mind the necessity to co-operate in these local struggles, to underline the potential successes and to transmit concrete road maps for the inhabitants to self-organise in the construction of their mobilisation.
Among the international actors who participated at the visits (and at the seminars of the ESF likewise) on notes the participation of No Vox, AITEC, IFEA (French Institute of Anatolian Studies), Reclaiming Spaces and other european actors.

Seminar on the Right to the City: A seminar organised by the turkish platform and the present international movements was organised inside of the ESF about the notion of the Right to the City (exchange and debates about this notion) and on alternative ways existing (presentation of a couple of concrete alternatives).

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1. We stand against the marketing of our cities to capital via urban transformation/renewal projects based on change value and profit; we are against the appropriation of our cities which are our living spaces complete with their neighborhoods, public spaces, schools, hospitals, parks, shores, natural, historical and cultural heritage.
2. We demand foremost our right to shelter, in other words our right to adequate housing as stipulated in international law and independent of property. We believe that right to housing should be under legal guarantee regardless of income level or access to economic resources.
3. We demand from the government not only housing, infrastructure, access to work, transportation, education and other such social and economic rights, but also the right to modify/shape our living spaces and the city. Against all the urban transformation/renewal projects that are forced upon us and shaped by the interests of transnational capital, we are determined to continue our struggle for the right to shape our city according to our way of life and our desires. As such, our goal is to spread our right to the city beyond shelter and access to urban facilities, to the whole of the city. Defending the right of the residents of Tarlabaşı to stay put in their neighborhood, defending Hasankeyf, and
Emek theatre, while at the same time opposing the 3. bridge and hydroelectric power stations, struggling against the marketing of our schools and hospital to capital are all parts of this whole.
4. With the passage of consecutive laws on urban transformation/renewal, the government uses the law as a tool to further its interests. Thus the need to take the struggle to the streets along side the legal struggle is apparent. In its demand for social and economic rights from the government, this movement may utilize mass demonstrations as
well as creative public actions. It does not regard legal recourse as and limited to a defense of personal rights. It makes a new legal ethic and practice in life part of the struggle.
5. Theory and practice, ideal and reality may differ. It may be unfair to expect a holistic perspective from local struggles. However if we give up on our ideals, we may never get another chance to realize them. Local struggles have their own reality, nevertheless it is important to seek ways for a united struggle and to try to sustain them both. In this regard, local initiatives and neighborhood associations have important responsibilities.
6. We have to project local issues to the entire city making sure that Başıbüyük residents come to protest the 3. bridge, those struggling for the Ataköy shore-line come to the defense of Tozkoparan.
7. Our struggle has to be united. In order to act together, we have to meet at the widest common ground and only in doing so can we carry the struggle into the future. We have to be flexible with one another. We also need to be inclusive in our communication with other movements, trade associations and unions. As the participants of the Urban Movements Forum, we regard this manifesto as a work in progress, as a first step in
this process. The incomplete discussions on procedural suggestions, principles and other issues are topics to be covered in the future. Nevertheless we can also say that the most basic topic the forum agreed on was acting together on urgent agendas and generating common actions and practices.

The concrete suggestions that were discussed in the forum can be summarized as follows:
– A periodical to create and enhance interaction between neighborhoods.
– A legal commission for urgent intervention and consultation.
– An urban resource and consultation center for defending our neighborhoods and our city.

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We, Urban Social Movements in Istanbul, are inviting all the Europe-wide resisting urban social movements and organizations to VI. European Social Forum, with the need and urge to fight together against the ceaseless attacks of capitalism.

We, who are thrown out of our homes and neighbourhoods, kicked out to the streets, whose ecologic values are looted for profit, whose memories are mortgaged, we, as the dispossessed, as the outsiders, that is, the real owners of the cities will be gathering in the European Social Forum which will be held in Istanbul between the 1st and 4th of July. We will be searching the ways to mutualize our problems and to develop organized means of struggle.

We will discuss the future of the endlessly transforming cities and the meaning of this transformation for the dispossessed and oppressed. We will gather to discuss the ways to synchronize the partial resistances in the city centers and slums, to talk about the inseparable destiny of the urban and rural struggles, the possibilities of common local and global struggles and to create a solid action alliance out of our discussions.

Let us get together in seminars, in workshops, at stands and in the actions. Let us gather our voices and raise our cry this time from Istanbul.

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