Ecological Crisis and Capitalist Accumulation in Contemporary Turkey

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1565 ... March 5, 2018

Ecological Crisis and Capitalist Accumulation in Contemporary Turkey

Zafer Ülger is a member of the Başlangıç socialist collective in Turkey. He has participated in the student movement (1995-1997) in Turkey, and was a part of the anti-war movement after September 2001. He joined the local neighbourhood solidarity and forums movement after the Gezi Park resistance. He is now working on his PhD dissertation on ecology struggles and contradictions between capitalism and the ecosystem at Marmara University.

Zafer spoke with Arielle Concilio of Left Voice to discuss environmental issues in Turkey, their relation to capitalist accumulation, and the increasing violence against environmental activists in the country.

Arielle Concilio (AC): Can you tell us about the main environmental issues you see currently in Turkey and their... relation to capitalist accumulation?

Zafer Ülger: In Turkey, the ecosystem has come under increased attacks in recent years. This is mainly due to the nature of the capitalist accumulation in Turkey, which centers on the construction, energy and infrastructure industries that wreak havoc on the ecosystem. One must also underscore the mineral exploration activities carried out by global and Turkish corporations. Gigantic infrastructure investments, employed by global capitalism as a measure against economic recession in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, have been stepped up in Turkey as is the case across the world. For instance, the Turkish government is trying to launch a construction project dubbed “Kanal İstanbul,” which will open up a huge channel running parallel to the Bosphorus and turn Istanbul into an island; government officials refuse even to discuss the probable disastrous effects of this project.

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