Neoliberal Wars and Violent Gentrification

 

This ad from the Turkish Prime Ministry chilled me to the bone. See this article (here) about the destruction of Sur, the UNESCO-protected old city of Diyarbakir, by Turkish security forces in December 2015 using heavy weapons, causing the mostly Kurdish population to flee. The article also mentions that the Turkish state then expropriated most of the properties in Sur (see image below from March 2016, expropriations are in red).

SurexpropriationMarch2016

However, the local population had already heard rumors BEFORE the destruction began (and which the Turkish government justified as being in response to Kurdish fighters in the city) that the city was somehow going to be emptied out in preparation for massive gentrification. The video ad, which was published on April 4, 2016, lays out the government’s plan to build Sur “anew”.

The images show the same sanitized vaguely historic referenced fake architecture the AKP has used all over the country, completely destroying the historic (and human) fabric of communities and sites, except that in this case, they literally destroyed the city first (the video shows some of the bombed areas and implies that the city really looked like that). The rumors and the speed with which this reconstruction has all been organized makes it appear that violent gentrification is certainly one factor behind AKP’s war with the Kurds. Neoliberal wars?

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