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Coal, ash, and other tales: The making and remaking of the anti-coal movement in Aliağa, Turkey
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment. (Environmental Humanities Lab)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5074-5017
Boğaziçi University.
Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University.
2019 (English)In: Transforming Socio-Natures in Turkey: Landscapes, State and Environmental Movements / [ed] Onur İnal and Ethemcan Turhan, London: Routledge, 2019, p. 166-186Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this chapter, we take a critical look at the historical transformation of grassroots mobilization and political engagement in Aliağa in the period between these two historical moments (1990 and 2016) by using archival material from two national newspapers with wide circulation, secondary literature, and indepth interviews with some of the key actors. Aliağa appears to be a curious case for neglect in the scholarly literature on environmental activism in Turkey, a history of victories and defeats only partially told. This is particularly relevant and important since the powerful coalition that had emerged in the 1990s (formed by locals, the Green Party, the main social democratic opposition party in parliament, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects and labor unions) fought and won a major victory giving way to the cancellation of the government’s plans and the birth of a combatant environmental movement in the region. Although it was one of the fi rst nationally debated environmental justice successes of this scale in Turkey ( Şahin, 2010 ), anti-coal movement in Aliağa still remains somewhat under-investigated in the country’s history of environmental movements. Thus, providing a micro-historical account would not only give the Aliağa anti-coal movement the due credit it deserves, but also help us illustrate the changing nature and shifting contours of environmental mobilizations in Turkey at large in a time of re-escalating authoritarianism. Since “there is not a right or wrong environmentalism, but narratives and practices of environmentalism which are historically produced” ( Armiero and Sedrez, 2014 : 11), our effort here also helps to reveal some hidden narratives and practices which are equally relevant for contemporary environmental movement in Turkey. To this end, we describe how the hegemonic state – in a counter-movement – reacted to the legal developments and the activism in Aliağa by changing the rules of the game; amending institutional and legal frameworks for investment decisions as needed, thereby speeding up and deepening neoliberal reforms. The tale of the anti-coal struggle in Aliağa presented in this chapter is important for environmental struggles in general, as it offers interesting insights into the ways environmental movements and their counter-hegemonic powers clash with, confront, and negotiate with the state just to die out and eventually be reborn.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2019. p. 166-186
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Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-255154DOI: 10.4324/9780429429699ISBN: 9781138367692 (print)ISBN: 9780429429699 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-255154DiVA, id: diva2:1338450
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QC 20190902

Available from: 2019-07-22 Created: 2019-07-22 Last updated: 2019-10-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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