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A historical analysis of Accumulation by State of Emergency in Turkey
This paper examines state of exceptions in different social, political, and economic policy areas, which are usually studied separately. Whether about security, war, disasters, and economic crisis, such exceptions commonly contribute to the generation of wealth and power. The first part of this paper offers a historical analysis which shows integration and functionality of state of emergencies in modes of governance. The second part situates the emergency calls of the Turkish government following the 2011 earthquakes within this history. In order to promote its agenda for urban renewal, one of the primary accumulation strategies of the right-wing government was to pass one of its most controversial and draconian laws to date; Law No:6306, on the ’Transformation of Lands under Risk of Disasters’. This law closely followed the logic of the 1983 “Expropriation Law” initiating a series of neoliberal policies that led to the appropriation of land, water, and natural resources, both by public and private sector interests, all done as urgent expropriations in the name of emergency. Lastly, the paper concentrates on how Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality used the Law No:6306, though governed by the main opposition party. This municipality had several attempts to use the Expropriation Law to renew the Porsuk River’s banks since 1999, however, these were cancelled following lawsuits. Yet, the Law No:6306 enabled the municipality to re-start its renewal program under the Risk Zone Urban Renewal Project. I explore the interplay between the emergency calls and the political and economic ambitions of actors involved in the project.