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“Turkish cities have developed to a large extent in the last 30 years. Cities such as Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, Kocaeli, Gaziantep and Antalya have seen enormous infrastructure change. From transportation to various social facilities, urban transformation turned Turkish cities into both historical and modern living areas. In this post, we had a look at the timeline that these modern Turkish cities evolved.”
Developing Cities of Turkey
Before 1980’s, the population of Turkey was mostly living in small towns. The ratio was 64,1% to 35,9% for the towns. After 1980’s Turkey faced with the domestic migration. The reasons were abundant: like terrorism, drought at the agriculture, lack of education and etc. The biggest problem was that the goverment and municipalities were unprepared. As a result, in all cities new suburbs were established. No land registration; no title deed, no tax... Most of the houses built in just one night. That is why those suburbs were called “Gece Kondu” which means “ Slum”.
While this domestic migration was going on; the politicians discovered those poor immigrants. Just 20 minutes away from the city center, there was another life: no road, no electricity, no water, no education and etc. The politicians were sure of the vote they will get from the city center but they discovered that the immigrants would vote only to those who would give more. So 1980’s and 1990’s passed like that. The population of those suburbs started to grow more and more. Now they have everything except for the title deeds since those houses were all illegal. At the end of 1990’s, the politicians saw that if those suburbs didn’t get a part in the cities, social explotion was on the way. And the cities started to be established from the beginning.
In every city, the municipalities were the responsible of this change, but only in Istanbul the goverment involved in. Because the population of the city was only 4 million in 1980’s. In 2016, it reached 17 million. No municipality could have a chance to pay the expenses of urban requirements such as an underground system, new bridges, roads and etc. But growing only is never enough. For creating socially good living cities; every city started a race to show which city is better. Of course Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir were out of the standards then the other cities. Civil engineers or the population amount are also not enough. Financial and cultural life in the city became more important; easy slow life started to become more important. “Quality of life” was the new motto after 2015’s.
In some cities we can see this through the numbers. Let’s have a look at how the most popular cities changed in terms of quality of life in 15 years:
- Bursa: 26,72% growth in population, 82,15% growth in economics;
- Gaziantep: 35,54% growth in population, 84,62% growth in economics;
- Antalya 39,40% growth in population, 79,19% growth in economics;
- Konya 15,79% growth in population, 82,04% growth in economics;
- Kocaeli 36,70% growth in population, 86,26% growth in economics;
- Adana 15,94% growth in population, 81,37% growth in economics;
Those are popular cities. But how they became so popular? The very first step, transportation infrastructure of the these cities have been improved. Before focusing on the quality of culturel life, economic problems were solved. These cities are really big industry manufacturers. Kocaeli and Bursa are the heart of automobile industry. Konya, Adana and especially Gaziantep have enormous companies and they still have that tradition. Antalya and again Gaziantep boast of being the center of agriculture. At the same time, every year Antalya, Gaziantep, Bursa and Konya welcome great amount of tourists. And after solving economic problems, the next step remaining was the quality of life.
The historical face of these cities were mostly protected. As well as protecting, the main historical areas of these cities started to revive with increasing number of restaurants, hotels or pubs around. So the city centers started to be a living place as well as tourist attractions. All suburbs were designed to be modern places. The more organized those areas became, the more old and ugly buildings collapsed. So the view of the cities has changed. As a result, now most of the people are happy to live in these cities.
Turkish people adopted “Quality Life” motto very late, but most of the famous old cities in the world have to start making all the details from the beginning. Luckily, we learnt from their mistakes, and didn’t do the same. Our cities already solved all these problems. Our cities are just waiting for new guests for Quality Life.

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