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The transformation of squatter settlements into authorised apartment blocks: a case study of Ankara, Turkey

Ozdemir, Nihan (1999) The transformation of squatter settlements into authorised apartment blocks: a case study of Ankara, Turkey. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86031) (KAR id:86031)

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In a city where more than half the population lives in squatter housing, the transformation of squatter housing into apartment blocks has important consequences on the socio-spatial structure of the city. This thesis aims to provide an account of the recent transformation of squatter settlements in Ankara into apartment blocks, with special reference to the political, economic, cultural as well as spatial consequences of this transformation. The theoretical part of the thesis has shown that existing theories on the formation and transformation of squatter settlements fail to provide an adequate account of their formation. While the articulation approach seems to be the most adequate for illustrating the formation of squatter settlements, it too remains silent in the face of transformation processes of squatter housing into apartment blocks on such a massive scale. In order to explain this process, rent gap theory. which was developed for the study of gentrification, is applied to the case of squatter transformation. Along with these structural dynamics, the political and ideological motives behind this policy shift on squatter settlements are also emphasised. In order to provide a holistic view of the development of squatter housing in Turkey, and particularly in Ankara, a brief review of the trajectory of squatter development in Turkey and in Ankara is provided with reference to state policies in this area. It is revealed that state strategies towards the squatter have undergone dramatic changes, from complete denial to covert acceptance, and then to overt support partly due to the increasing negotiation power of the squatter dwellers. In this context, the recent transformation of the squatter settlements needs to be understood with reference to this negotiation process as well as to the strategic location of the land occupied by the squatter settlements for redevelopment. Regarding the repercussions of this massive scale transformation on the city as a whole, and the different groups involved in this process, the case studies has shown that despite the considerable difference between the public and private sector-led transformation schemes, the main losers were the tenants, as they were forced to leave the areas that were subjected to redevelopment. Ironically, although the squatter owners received flats and in some cases cash for their land plot at the end of redevelopment process, this return is far from meeting their initial expectations. The main winner seems to be developers, public or private, in the redevelopment process. Yet, in the long term, the main loser seems to be the city population on the whole, as the newly emerging environments, as a result of redevelopment, reduced the environmental standards of the city and created a city that was intended to be avoided by the original development plan.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Pickvance, Chris
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86031
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Urban planning & rural planning
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:25 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2022 12:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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