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Sarah El-Kazaz


It Is About the Park: A Struggle for Turkey’s Cities

[Photo of protestors in Istiklal Boulevard on 9 June 2013. This particular protest organized residents of the tens of neighborhoods in Istanbul threatened by urban renewal projects. The map they are carrying in the photo documents where urban transformation projects are currently planned and colors code levels of project implementation and degrees of eviction from the neighborhoods. Image by members of the Taksim Dayanışması/Solidarity Movement.]

It is with alarming regularity that I read coverage of the protests and ensuing police brutality that erupted in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, Istanbul that emphatically insists that the confrontations are about “so much more than a park.” Reassuring their readers that the protests are not about something as silly or simple as the defense of a small park against redevelopment, analysts are eager to enumerate a bundle of decisions taken by the Turkish government, and in ...

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Sarah El-Kazaz


Sarah El-Kazaz is a PhD Candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University. Her dissertation project entitled “Building Political Publics: The Politics of Urban Transformation in Historical Cairo and Istanbul” examines the politico-economic struggle over the authority to shape and design contested city spaces in historical neighborhoods of Istanbul and Cairo. Her personal website is: