chapter  Chapter 3
18 Pages

Insurgent ecologies

Rhetorics of resistance and aspiration in Yedikule, Istanbul’s ancient market garden (2014–2018)
WithCharles Zerner

This chapter begins with in the weeds in an ancient market garden in Istanbul and ends, in the same field, even more thickly overgrown. The Yedikule market gardens have been managed by generations of peasant farmers who migrated to Istanbul from areas throughout Turkey and beyond, seeking employment and deploying their farming and gardening skills on land they obtained and occupied as lease-holders. The sense of Yedikule as a place of intensified affect and value was amplified in December 2015, when gardeners’ shelters and tool sheds were destroyed in an armed action by the municipal police, accompanied by heavy construction equipment. The absence of research on the perspectives of non-gardener neighbours as well as gardeners is striking. The gardeners’ tenure and the continuing existence of Yedikule market gardens remain in a situation of radical precarity. Imagine, finally, in a portion of the ruined site an unpredictable “rambunctious garden” of weedy, opportunistic species including former cultivars.