On November 30 Hendrik Wagenaar hosted Aysem Mert, assistant professor in sustainability governance at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Aysem’s lecture focused on her work on social movements in Turkey, and was given as part of the Seminar Series of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Aysem spoke on the 2013 Gezi protests in Turkey, which emerged as a bottom-up response to the plans of the government and Istanbul municipality to build a shopping mall on a small yet symbolic park in the cultural heart of Istanbul. The ‘Gezi Movement’ has unified opposition from all sides of the political spectrum and transformed Turkish politics, its language, the alignments and the discourse coalitions of political parties, and people’s self-perceptions.
The lecture commented on the way in which the Gezi protesters responded to urban enclosures- symbolised by the all-encompassing part- and organised resistance by creating a new set of common spaces in and around Gezi Park. The cases discussed in the lecture were Yeryüzü Sofrasi (Dinner Table of the Earth), neighbourhood councils in the parks, humour/language and the new communal libraries across Istanbul.
Aysem’s contact details are: firstname.lastname@example.org