Expropriating the dead in Turkey: how the Armenian quarter of İzmir became Kültürpark

Faculty/Professorship: Turkish Studies  
Author(s): Morack, Ellinor  
Title of the Journal: European review of history : Revue européenne d'histoire
ISSN: 1350-7486
Publisher Information: Abingdon : Taylor & Francis
Year of publication: 2021
Volume: 28
Issue: 2
Pages: 240-259
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1080/13507486.2020.1832051
The İzmir fire of 1922, as well as the subsequent re-building of the fire area according to a new master plan, have been studied quite extensively, but so far, nobody has looked into the politics of expropriation and compensation surrounding them. This article studies the expropriation of the İzmir fire area in the late 1920s and the subsequent urban renewal project of the 1930s by contextualizing it within the history of the dispossession of Armenians and Orthodox Greeks in the late Ottoman Empire and early republican Turkey. As I show, some property owners in the fire area were able to negotiate much better terms for their expropriation than others. Those who had been killed or expelled in 1922 and whose physical property had been destroyed in the fire were also expropriated, but never compensated. Their physical dispossession was thus repeated in the legal realm. Based on a variety of archival sources from Turkish and Western archives, this article shows that Armenian compensation claims were pocketed by the İzmir municipality and other state agencies. This, however, aroused the interest of the treasury, which in 1941 claimed those compensation sums that should have been paid for plots in the the former Armenian quarter now covered by kültürpark. I argue that the treasury did so because the abandoned property law of 1922 had officially made the treasury the universal custodian of “absent” property owners.
GND Keywords: Izmir ; Zerstörung ; Geschichte 1922 ; Christen ; Enteignung ; Stadtplanung ; Geschichte 1922-1961
Keywords: İzmir, Turkey, Expropriation, urban planning, Armenians
DDC Classification: 950 History of Asia  
RVK Classification: NQ 5752   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/50554
Release Date: 21. July 2021