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Aslıhan Güçlü



For more than twenty years I have been living in Çiğli, a place I and other people from İzmir consider ‘far away’. It was first founded as a small village outside the city center which expanded with migration from the Balkans following the population exchange between Turkey and Greece, and with migration from Varto, Muş following the earthquake in 1966. Çiğli has recently become one of the most densely developed districts in İzmir due to in-migration over the years. 


Seemingly unending constructions make Çiğli look like a huge construction site, but the region is naturewise very diverse and houses different ecosystems, grasslands, and coastal line under protection such as the Former Gediz Delta. In 1886, in order to prevent the obstruction of İzmir Gulf, the Gediz Riverbed was redirected to shape Former Gediz Delta which houses Çamaltı Salt Marsh and İzmir Bird Sanctuary. The Delta, located in close proximity to a metropolis like İzmir, accommodates an amazing ecological system including fisheries, mud islands, salt marshes and flamingoes. Despite all, the seaside use is very limited in Çiğli and life is mostly stuck between housing estates and gated communities that are spread out on Yamanlar mountain range. 

Çiğli’s demographics have changed since the waves of migration intensified from 1990 onwards and transformed Çiğli into a large banlieue composed of housing estates and gated communities. This transformation also made me witness how human interventions transformed nature. As someone living here for a long time, I had the opportunity to observe daily how swamps, pastures, and meadows were occupied and transformed to serve development projects. For this reason, I focused on exhibiting the structural changes by human intervention in a transforming geography.

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