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24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu A gecekondu-house in Ankara It was said that on an old neighborhood in the southern regions of Ankara, which is called ‘Yukarı Dikmen’ (Upper Dikmen) close to the last minibus-stop Keklik, a few gecekondus were left, since the Turkish governments started their rigorous planning scheme for the transformation of the capital’s informal settlements, which is called ‘Toki’. Between the 4-7 story apartment blocks out of concrete, overlooking the hills of Ankara, a few rows of onestorey-buildings with odd material, shapes and forms, hidden by many regional trees seemed to be left out of the progressive building activities at this place. The trees were protecting the little buildings from strong wind channels. The winds were even exalerated due to this place’s hilltops and slopes, creating strong slopes and facilitating through the low grassed landscape. Family Aydoğan (‘Rising moon’) came to Ankara in 1989. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Aydoğan left her village in Anatolia and thrived for the big city where she had hopes to find an outcome for her and her children. Upper-Dikmen was in 1989 a place where a lot of gecekondus were placed, due to its closeness to the city-centre and a brickyard in the neighbourhood. She bought a two-room gecekondu for little money. There was just no money for more. But after a while, she was able to save enough money for an extension, “a kitchen and a bathroom to make it inhabitable” she said. So Mrs Aydoğan and with several helping neighbors went to a trader for building materials. The sales- man calculated how much bricks for the walls, wood beams for the doors and window openings and wood sheets for the roof they would need for a 20 square- meters. He also explained construction methods and served with recommendations. She made the order. At the chosen place the mother and her children prepared the ground, cleaning it from stones and rocks and levelling with earth. The building material supplier delivered the ordered material on the scheduled day and in the same night they built the extension: first the walls brick by brick, filling the spaces in-between with little stones, mud and mortar and putting the wood sheets on top of them. They used ‘tools like everyone else uses’: hammers and nails and a good piece of wood board as a tool for making everything straight and correct. The whole family participated at this effort, since all parts of the materials where handy and needed to happen fast, because the ‘yıkıcılar’, the demolishers were strict and fast too. By dawn, everything was finished: they had a house which looked larger. Once the walls and roofs were done, the finishes of the walls from outside and inside and some concrete for the ground could be done. With years, the house grew. One of the sons married and the young couple needed a place for living. So they added first one room and then another one for the second son and his wife. Both spaces were placed below the main house, following the steep slope. And then, in one year, the mother visited her relatives in her former village. Her grown-up sons used that opportunity to build another little house for his mother: only one room, a little more space for baking bread and storage. It took him one night and a day, all done by himself. The place between the main house and the little baking/ storage room had been used for outdoor living: there, the family Aydoğan had placed an old couch, covered with a plastic sheet, and a table at which they had not only eaten but also prepared home grown peaches for drying. The floor of this outdoor area was formed by leftover asphalt parts which the mother gathered from the remains when the nearby street was built and the workers left the unused parts all over the place.


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

A garage was also in plans. However, although the place had been already fixed and the materials were at place, they could not finish this endeavour. Building a house or just an addition had been not always easy. The mother explained that one need to be careful and pay a great deal of attention to the demolishers. They had been observing places like the UpperDikmen area. It had been told that they were always informed about nightly activities, they could be everywhere and importantly they were dangerous. Many times new additions, regardless of their size, were detected and demolished before dawn, its builders threatened and beaten. The mother told about an occasion, in which she was threatened within her own house because the demolishers entered her house without permission when she was alone by herself. Nevertheless, not only family Aydoğan but many other families had continued to build, sometimes against time, sometimes against fears and sometimes against all regulations. Today the former garage place has not been used as a garage because that would be too ostentatious, but it has been used for storing the leaves of poplar grove trees and again, for baking… In this way, over the last twenty years, the gecekondu of the Aydoğans grew to a house which now consists of 6 rooms with outdoor areas and a terraced garden and other spaces. Over the years this part of Ankara was also connected not only to roads but also to water, electricity and gas. They are waiting for more acceptance of their status since they already obtain the rights for their piece of land: as other neighbours a few streets away, the Aydoğans are waiting for a building company making them an offer to build an apartment building on parts of their plot. In this way they will become owners of one or two modern apartments as an equivalent. However, in the meanwhile they continue to build and make space usable…

Mrs. Aydoğan and her oldest son explaining the history of their gecekondu-house.


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

Upper Dikmen: Looking from the bus road, overlooking the valleys of Dikmen and overlooking West Ankara (app. 8 million residents)

Main entrance from the upper bus road. The main house and its bathroom/ corridor addition is here visible. Stairs going down to the outdoor area.


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

Here we are on the outdoor place with the couch and the large peach tree. The house is on the left. On the right is the baking room.

The entrance to the main house is on the right; the entrance to the son’s house is on the left and lower side.


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

Left: Entrace into the main house. Right: window in the corridor space.

Left: Toilet and shower place. Right: continuing through the door in the another corridor with the kitchen and the main living room..


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

Left: Corridor to the elevated living room. Right: Elevated kitchen.

Living room and the attached master’s room


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

Left: Ceiling detail. Right: Grey water sewage through the main entrance towards the outdoor place.

Going from the main house, crossing the terrace and continuing to the little addition…


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

The little addition.

The little addition.

Details


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

The Entrance from the lower street: the garage place in the foreground, to its right stairs going up to the Aydoğan’s house through the terraced garden.

In side the garage-place there are leaves to be dried; on the left corner is the round shape of the stove It is laid into the ground.


24.07.2009 – Tülây Güneş, Ankara, Yukarı Dikmen, gecekondu

On the left side of the lower road is the house of the Aydoğan’s, on the right side, below road level are some other neighbors.

Neighboring Gecekondus

The ruins of the former brickyard


A gecekondu-house in Ankara