Neoliberal Transformation of the City of Diyarbakir under the Shade of Political Tensions

oguzhan ozgur guven



My research investigates recent socio-spatial transformation of the city of Diyarbakir (the biggest Kurdish city in Turkey) in the context of neoliberal transformation of Turkey. Diyarbakir displays the complexity of the issue of neoliberal transformation which, I assume, has two main aspects; namely, policies of (in)security and political economy. Witnessed a thirty-year of conflict between Kurdish uprising and the state security forces, on the one hand, Diyarbakir has been a political space where the state security practices have targeted a specific ethnic group (the Kurds) on the basis of concerns for security. On the other hand, with the negotiation process between the Kurdish political organizations and the state officials beginning from 2000s, the facet of Diyarbakir has also undergone through an economic transformation, especially basing on the construction industry following the western part of Turkey. In line with this transformation, neoliberal policies applied in Diyarbakir have gained a new dimension to include class conflicts between the Kurds, as the main pro-Kurdish party that holds the municipality has become one of the leading actors of the neoliberal transformation in the city.

Examining the socio-spatial transformation of Diyarbakir has a potential to inform us about some particularities and tensions of the processes of neoliberalism. The example of Diyarbakir illustrates that neoliberal transformation is not limited to the state practices, but even the oppositional libertarian and egalitarian groups might appear as the leading actors of neoliberal policies. In this regard, my study will contribute to the comparative understandings of neoliberal policies which point out the shortcomings of the state oriented critiques of neoliberal processes and emphasize various dimensions of neoliberal transformation.

neoliberal transformation - politics of space - identy politics - kurdish question  
This article is part of Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres (Wildcat series) - Book launch (A booklaunch on 'Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres (Wildcat series) - Book launch')