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Literally, homes "built up at night" without permits in slum areas of Turkish cities.

The low-income neighborhoods lacking many urban amenities that surround Turkey's large cities are known as gecekondu s because the houses are built during the night on vacant land and without construction permits. Once the exterior walls and roof are in place, owners of the landoften the governmentare not permitted to tear the houses down without going through a lengthy court process. Thus, for the squatters who build these homes, their overnight construction work becomes a fait accompli. In this way, extensive gecekondu s have been established on the outskirts of Adana, Ankara, Bursa, Diyarbakir, Istanbul, and İzmir. Houses in gecekondu neighborhoods often make illegal connections to urban water and electricity lines. Long-established gecekondu s have been successful in pressuring municipalities to provide legal urban services such as piped water, sewers, electricity, and transportation.


Gursoy-Tezcan, Akile. "Mosque or Health Centre? A Dispute in a Gecekondu." In Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics, and Literature in a Secular State, edited by Richard Tapper. London: I.B. Tauris, 1991.

Karpat, Kemal H. The Gecekondu: Rural Migration and Urbanization. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1979.

Eric Hooglund

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