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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