İleri, Nurçin

Complaints Regarding Privileged Companies: Nationalization of Istanbul Terkos Water and Tram Companies

The article is published in Turkish: İmtiyazlı Şirketlere Yönelik Şikâyetler: İstanbul Terkos Su ve Tramvay Şirketlerinin Millileştirilmesi. An abstract is available in English:

Subsequent to the financial crisis triggered by the Great Depression of 1929, Turkey, akin to numerous other nations, embraced an economic policy characterized by statism and protectionism. During the 1930s, a process of nationalization unfolded, wherein infrastructure enterprises under foreign ownership underwent a transition to state control. This nationalization initiative primarily targeted pivotal sectors, including railways, tramways, ports, gas, electricity, water, and other municipal services that encompassed energy and transportation. This article aims to examine the ideological and social dimensions of infrastructure projects by focusing on public service projects of the early Republican era, such as water supply and distribution, which were the primary life source of Istanbul, and the tramway system, which played a key role in intra-city transportation. The article highlights the moments of agreement and conflict between the municipality and the privileged companies implementing these projects, as well as the reflections of these projects in daily life. Opposing the dominant narrative that presents infrastructure projects as a glamorous tale of success and progress, it argues for the consideration of everyday life experiences to reveal the spatial and social inequalities associated with infrastructure services and usage within the city. It asserts that infrastructure should be approached as a complex network of relationships that not only makes visible the disparities but also generates new forms of living cultures and new forms of crime, encompassing both hope and disappointment.

Access to full article (in Turkish)

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