The latest status of squats in Istanbul (Oct 2018)

– Yeldeğirmeni, Don Kişot: Began during Summer 2013. Evicted in November 2015. Torn down in November 2016. A new building rises now instead of squat.

– Kadıköy, Caferağa: Began in Autumn 2013. Evicted in December 2014. Back then, activists had organized the largest demo ever in Turkey to protest a squat eviction ( Burnt down in November 2016.

– Beşiktaş, Berkin Elvan: Began in Spring 2014. Evicted in a month…

– Söğütlüçeşme, Samsa: Began in Spring 2014. Abandoned by many activists by Winter 2015. The building stands still as doors locked.

– Acıbadem, Lojman: Began in Winter 2016. Its anarchist collective has largely been dissolved by Summer 2016. As of October 2018, Lojman is still being maintained as a de-facto squat by several occupiers. Restricted access. For short stays, visits and other queries, please contact:

*There are ongoing guerilla gardening (bostan) projects as well. Some of those areas are located on squatted sites like Roma Bostani in Cihangir.

Istanbul (Turkey): squatting update

– Yeldeğirmeni, Don Kişot: Began during Summer 2013. Evicted in November 2015. Torn down in November 2016.

– Kadıköy, Caferağa: Began in Autumn 2013. Evicted in December 2014. Burnt down in November 2016.

– Beşiktaş, Berkin Elvan: Began in Spring 2014. Evicted in a month…

– Söğütlüçeşme, Samsa: Began in Spring 2014. Abandoned by many activists by Winter 2015. The building stands still as doors locked.

– Acıbadem, Lojman: Began in Winter 2016. Abandoned by many activists by Summer 2016. This squat is still open. Contact:

[Translated from Turkish.]

Turkey: Gregor Samsa and Don Kişot fighting against windmills. Squatting in Istanbul as an attempt to resist neoliberal urban politics

Donkisot_serbesiyet_IstanbulOn the Trails of Don Kişot – Our Field Research in Istanbul
By the changing shape of the Istanbul skyline, the rapid growth of production within the city since the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) rose to power in 2002 is easily visible to the city’s inhabitants. Over the past two decades, Istanbul has undergone a neoliberal restructuring process (1). Progressing globalization and digitalization have not only turned the city into a site absorbing surplus value – an epicenter of the accumulation of capital – they have also formed a new urban space in which traditional national spatial arrangements engage with those of the global digital age (2).

As a research group, we were concerned with Istanbul’s economic, cultural and social transformation into a global city over the past 50 years as well as the various effects of this transformation. During our travel to Istanbul from May 23, until May 31, 2014, we conducted field research on squatting in stanbul. The political controversies regarding common usage of urban space in everyday life as well as the political struggles stemming from immense changes of social life culminating in the Gezi Park protest in 2013 were the most obvious links between the projects we visited.

In reference to David Harveys’ “Rebel Cities”, we call people’s occupation of Taksim Square “their right to the city” (3). In our field research, we intended to explore the political intentions of The Don Kişot Sosyal Merkezi, a squat in Istanbul German leftist magazines focused on, calling it a “follow up movement to Gezi.” (4) We asked ourselves in which way squatting in Istanbul is connected to the 2013 Gezi Park protest movement and how it relates to neoliberal politics and
urban transformation. [Read More]

Istanbul: Caferağa Mahalle Evi squatted community centre in Kadıköy evicted

On the 1st of December 2014 we were notified that Caferağa Solidarity’s Mahalle Evi – where we’ve been living since January 2014 – would be evicted on Friday the 5th of December, at 10am, due to an inquiry of the General Directorate of National Property (Real Estate/Milli Emlak), with the assignment of the district governorship and by execution of the police forces.

As soon as we heard this news, we tried our best to reach you through all means of communication. We used social media, email, phone calls as well as posters, banners, videos and texts. We called for a solidarity gathering with the squatted community centre on the 5th of December, at 9am. [Read More]

Istanbul: Caferağa Neighborhood House Evicted by police

While police evicted Caferağa Neighborhood House, an occupied house in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, in the early morning, activists started a passive resistance, calling for action outside the house tonight. Started in the early morning, the eviction was completed by 10:30am local time. After the eviction and retreat of police forces, activist went back to the street of the house, but decided not to enter the house again as they agreed to have a “passive resistance”. The number of activist is around 100 despite early morning. [Read More]

Istanbul: Squat attempt in Beşiktaş


On Saturday noon, March 22nd, 2014, a group of nearly 50 people from different left spectra gathered at the central Eagle Statue in the district of Beşiktaş (on the European side of Istanbul) to jointly occupy a former Greek school, which is located nearby, and has been standing empty for many decades already. The activists intended to liberate the space and turn it into a non-commercial social centre.

Their attempt was met with negative reaction from conservative residents, as well as immediate aggression by fascists, who carried wooden sticks and harassed the group as soon as they entered the building. [Read More]

Turkey: Reclaim the Urban Commons: Istanbul’s First Squat

Squatters in Istanbul reclaim their ‘right to the city’ and fight for social justice in a city where big business sets the urban development agenda. 

Another construction site in Istanbul. Prime Mininster Erdoğan’s special inclination towards so-called “urban renewal projects” has made them pop up all over the city. In both 2010 and 2011 Istanbul was ranked number one among European cities in terms of real estate investment and development, due to its high-speed urban transformation.

But the three-story building taking shape in the increasingly popular district of Kadiköy is not exactly contributing to the kind of urban transformation aspired by the current AKP administration. The colors, the music, and the crowd filling the corner house on this Saturday afternoon in late November are not indicating the inauguration of another shopping mall — on the contrary, they are part of the daily life of Istanbul’s first squat.

While many European cities have a long and proud squatting tradition, evolved primarily out of the problems of rising rent and lack of proper living spaces, in the case of Istanbul the focus seems to be a slightly different one. “Under the domination of money and unearned income all the commonly used places are being taken away,” one of the activists explains in Fatih Pınar’s short documentary about the new squat. “What we are after, in fact,” someone else adds, “is to create again the public spaces that have been taken from us.” [Read More]

From Madrid to Istanbul: Occupying Public Space

Istanbul’s first squat is more than an experiment: it is a counter-hegemonic intervention that challenges the neoliberal dogma of growth at all costs.

In “Occupy the Squares, Squat the Buildings”, a paper written shortly after the eviction of Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, Miguel Martínez and Ángela García show how two movements — the mass popular occupation of Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol, and that of Madrid’s squatted and self-managed social centers — interacted to reinforce one another through shared resources, shared physical spaces, shared logistics and people, and of course shared (but by no means homogeneous) ideas and practices. Horizontality has been the organizational modus operandi of these movements, advancing a staunchly anti-neoliberal, if not outright anti-capitalist critique of Spain’s deteriorating economic and political status quo. This is a status quo primarily characterized by heinous and growing wealth inequality, desperate unemployment, savage austerity, opportunistic privatizations and deeply embedded political corruption.

The opening of Istanbul’s first squatted and self-managed social center, appropriately named Don Kişot (Quixote) shortly after the eviction of Gezi Park, has key parallels with the Spanish experience. The inquisitiveness of one of forty odd police officers during a first visit to Kadiköy’s first squatted and self-managed social center, is revealing: does this have something to do with Gezi Park? The answer, of course, is yes — it has a lot to do with the predominantly anti-authoritarian uprising against the AKP government. The critical yet pragmatic anti-neoliberal or anti-capitalist strand of protest that was so apparent during the Gezi Park occupation has resurfaced in this once empty building, which now houses autonomous community projects of all shapes and kinds. [Read More]

Istanbul: New Squat ‘Don Quixote’

In the aftermath of the Gezi-protests, Istanbul’s newly-formed solidarity groups continue to work on lasting change. One recent development is the long empty and recently squatted building ‘Don Quixote’ in the district Kadiköy. ‘Don Quixote’ will become Istanbul’s first social center of this kind.
[Read More]

Istanbul (Turkey): Don Quixote Occupies the Windmill


Yeldeğirmeni (The Windmill) Solidarity, a local group based in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district, occupied a half-constructed apartment building abandoned for 15 years, calling it Don Quixote. bianet interviewed group activists who spoke up on their story.

Activists from Yeldeğirmeni (The Windmill) Solidarity occupied a half-constructed apartment building abandoned for 15 years, calling it Don Quixote.

The story broke as police forces paid a “visit” to the building for investigation. [Read More]

Urgent Call For Solidarity From Urban Movements Istanbul

Received by email, features mainstream media..

International Human Rights Organizations and Dear Friends, Comrades, Press Members from all over the world;

This is an urgent call from human rights defenders, activists, NGOs, professional chambers, grassroots, neighbourhood associations and Istanbulites.

Since the 27th of May,Istanbulites from all social and political backgrounds and ages and from all over the city had been continuing a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, the city’s largest public park, soon to be demolished due to a renewal project. According to the project, decades old trees in the park will be cut down and a big mall in the replica of the once Ottoman Artillery Barracks (Topçu Kışlası)will be erected:
[Read More]

Istanbul: Resistance days against World Bank and International Monetary Fund


Global elites will meet in Istanbul between 28th September – 7th October 2009 to discuss their new plans for exploiting all humanity and the world. For this reason we organized an extremely festive action programme.

We’re inviting everyone – who has a problem with capitalism and the global destruction it created – to the streets and calling everyone to make Istanbul hell for the IMF & the WB!


[Read More]