Growing Gezi Park en miniature


Most people will hopefully have heard of the protest of Gezi Park happening in Istanbul this summer. This park near Taksim Square is one of the few parks and therefore green places left in Istanbul. Having lived in Berlin and Leipzig which are both very green cities and having been to Istanbul, I can assure everyone that Istanbul is not very green.
16% of Leipzig are green space[1], 14 % of Berlin are[2] (another source even speaks of 46%[3]). Only 4% of Istanbul were green space in 2009[4]. The government planned to build a mall and to destroy Gezi Park. This and the overall tendency of the government to clear forests in the area surrounding Istanbul (for example for the third Bosporus Bridge) gave rise to protest which were most violently answered by the police. At the time I mostly followed occupygezipics on tumblr. Popular Hashtags were #direngezi and later #duranadam.

Bridge Piers for 3rd Bosporus Bridge, Photo taken on Oct 22nd 2013.
Note the clearings already made.

New protest has been going on since October 2013 (I think), because a highway is planned to be build in the campus area of Ankara and 3000 trees are to be cleared for that. When I was at Taksim Square and Gezi Park last time during my stay in Turkey, there was a lot of police with their TOMA. I was quite scared, but we had left the place before the protest and beating up started.

Idea: Grow Bonsai Trees from Gezi Park Trees

Those events still in mind, I thought that it might be a nice idea to grow Bonsai trees from seeds or cuttings collected in Gezi Park (although cuttings might not be allowed – so please don’t do that). It won’t help people in Istanbul breathe, but it would be an idea to preserve the lineage of those trees in a way. Even when the Park will be demolished. A kind of quite and green and artful protest. It wouldn’t have to be bonsai, actually, but it would fit into this blog better if it was.
I will ask my friends in Istanbul to try and get me seeds. But it would also be an idea for Istanbul people to preserve part(s) of Gezi Park. Small comfort, I know.


01: Ausflug ins grüne Leipzig (Text in German)
02: Pflege und Unterhaltung des Berliner Stadtgrüns (Text in German)
03: In gritty Berlin, green space plays a surprisingly large role
04: Megacities und Stadterneuerung, p. 73. (Text in German)


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