The Politics of Crime in Turkey: Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor 9781784535438, 9781350989115, 9781786730541

This book focuses on urban crime and policing in Turkey since the steady economic decline of the 1990s. Concentrating on

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The Politics of Crime in Turkey: Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor
 9781784535438, 9781350989115, 9781786730541

Table of contents :
Author Bio
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. Conceptual/Theoretical Framework and the Literature on the Neoliberal Penal State
2. Neoliberal Ideologies of Crime in Urban Turkey
3. The Crisis and Reinvention of the Police
4. Giuliani in Izmir: Restructuring of Public Order Policing and Criminalizing the ‘Target Populations’
5. Policing a Kurdish Shantytown
Back Cover

Citation preview

‘ What Zeynep Gönen provides in this compact work is a critical look into the motivations, practices and outcomes of policing in contemporary Turkey. She does so with a strong grasp of the contemporary theories and critiques that have helped shape law enforcement in modern global cities.’

William G. Martin, Professor, Sociology Department, Binghamton University During the 2013 Gezi Park Uprisings, the role and behaviour of the Turkish police made headlines across the world. This book focuses on urban crime and policing in Turkey since the steady economic decline of the 1990s. Concentrating on the attempts to ‘modernize’ the policing of Izmir, Zeynep Gönen highlights how the police force expanded their territorial control over the urban space, specifically targeting the poor and racialized segments of the city. Through in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations of these ‘targeted’ populations, as well as rare ethnographic data from the Turkish police, Gönen shows how Kurdish migrants have been criminalized as dangerous ‘enemies’ of the order. In studying the ideological and material processes of criminalization, The Politics of Crime in Turkey makes the case for the neoliberal politics of crime that uses the notion of ‘security’ to legitimize violence and authoritarianism. The book will be of interest to criminologists, as well as those investigating the modern Turkish state and its relationship to the Kurds in the wider region. Zeynep Gönen is an independent researcher, having worked as a lecturer in universities in Turkey and the US. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Binghamton University, New York, where her thesis received two awards. Her work has been published in the journals Critical Criminology and Praksis, and she currently works as an editor at Izmir Mediterranean Academy. Cover image: Turkish riot police at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, 11th June 2013, © epa european pressphoto agency b.v. / Alamy Stock Photo Cover designer: Sandra Friesen

The Politics of Crime in Turkey

‘ The Politics of Crime in Turkey is a remarkable achievement: while focused on innovations in Turkey, it illuminates with considerable skill and subtlety the new forms of neoliberal policing that are rapidly spreading around the world.’

Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor

Ryan Gingeras, Associate Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School

Zeynep Gönen

The Politics of Crime in Turkey Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor Zeynep Gönen

Zeynep Go¨nen is an independent researcher, having worked as a lecturer in universities in Turkey and the US. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Binghamton University, New York, where her thesis received two awards. Her work has been published in the journals Critical Criminology and Praksis, and she currently works as an editor at Izmir Mediterranean Academy.

‘What Zeynep Go¨nen provides in this compact work is a critical look into the motivations, practices and outcomes of policing in contemporary Turkey. She does so with a strong grasp of the contemporary theories and critiques that have helped shape law enforcement in modern global cities. Practitioners will appreciate her “on-the-ground” insights into the challenges and shortcomings of policing one of Turkey’s largest urban centres. Scholars of Turkish society and culture will gain much from her survey of the local and national politics that influence how crime and the rights of citizens are perceived in the city of Izmir. As a work solidly grounded and researched, it is a welcome contribution to the field.’ Ryan Gingeras, Associate Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School ‘The Politics of Crime in Turkey is a remarkable achievement: while focused on innovations in Turkey, it illuminates with considerable skill and subtlety the new forms of neoliberal policing that are rapidly spreading around the world. Go¨nen achieves here what many attempt but few attain: a theoretically and historically informed account constructed from painstaking local, ethnographic research. Most incisive is the sharp attention to the reconfiguration of the state and communities as policing practices were radically transformed – a process now stretching across Asia, Latin America and Asia. Students and scholars of crime and policing will learn much from, and be much challenged by, this singular text.’ William G. Martin, Professor, Sociology Department, Binghamton University


Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor


Published in 2017 by I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd London • New York Copyright q 2017 Zeynep Go¨nen The right of Zeynep Go¨nen to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. References to websites were correct at the time of writing. Library of Modern Turkey 23 ISBN: 978 1 78453 543 8 eISBN: 978 1 78672 054 2 ePDF: 978 1 78673 054 1 A full CIP record for this book is available from the British Library A full CIP record is available from the Library of Congress Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: available Typeset in Garamond Three by OKS Prepress Services, Chennai, India Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY An earlier version of Chapter 4 “Giuliani in Izmir: Restructuring of Public Order Policing and Criminalizing the ‘Target Populations’”, was previously published as “Giuliani in Izmir: Restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police and Criminalization of the Urban Poor,” Critical Criminology vol. 21 no. 1 (2013), 87–101. Republished with permission of Springer.

For Dog˘u and Uzay


List of Tables List of Abbreviations Acknowledgements Introduction 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Conceptual/Theoretical Framework and the Literature on the Neoliberal Penal State Neoliberal Ideologies of Crime in Urban Turkey The Crisis and Reinvention of the Police Giuliani in Izmir: Restructuring of Public Order Policing and Criminalizing the ‘Target Populations’ Policing a Kurdish Shantytown

viii ix xi 1 23 50 78 104 151



Notes Bibliography Index

214 252 265


Table 3.1 Violations of right to life, 1999 – 2009


Table 3.2 Disciplinary actions taken against police officers accused of torture, 2005 – 9


Table 3.3 Court decisions regarding the police officers accused of torture, 2005 – 9


Table 4.1 Balc ova Public Order Teams Headquarters, Points Distribution List


Table 4.2 Operations of Balc¸ova District Public Teams Headquarters




Automated Fingerprint Information System Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) Closed Circuit Television Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (Republican People’s Party) Ceza Muhakemeleri Usulu¨ Kanunu (Law on Criminal Procedure) Devrimci Genc lik (Revolutionary Youth) Devrimci Halk Kurtulus¸ Partisi-Cephesi (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front) European Court of Human Rights Emniyet Genel Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨ (General Directorate of Security) Emniyet Reorganizasyon ve Modernizasyon Kanunu (Re-organization and Modernization Project of the General Directorate of Security) Genel Bilgi Tarama (General Information Gathering) Geographical Information System Global Positioning System ¨ niversitesi Nu¨fus Etu¨tleri Enstitu¨su¨ Hacettepe U (Hacettepe University Population Studies Institute) I˙nsan Hakları Derneg˘i (Human Rights Association)




Smuggling Intelligence, Operation, Intelligence Gathering Milli Gu¨venlik Kurulu (National Security Council) Mobil Elektronik Sistem Entegrasyonu (Mobile Electronic System Integration) New York Police Department Olag˘anu¨stu¨ Hal (State of Emergency) Partiya Karkereˆn Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) Polis Derneg˘i (Police Association) Police Computer Network and Information System Polis Vazife ve Salahiyetleri Kanunu (Police Rights and Duties Act) Stratejik Aras¸tırmalar Merkezi (Strategic Research Centre) The Special Weapons and Tactics Tu¨rkiye Bu¨yu¨k Millet Meclisi (Turkish Parliament) Tu¨rkiye I˙nsan Hakları Vakfı (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) Turkish National Police Toplu Konut I˙daresi (Mass Housing Agency) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


While researching and writing can often be a solitary process, I have been lucky enough to be part of an intellectual community that has contributed to my thinking and growth in this subject matter. I am thankful to all who have been a part of its inception, research and writing. At Binghamton University, William G. Martin was with me all through this process, offering tireless guidance with his vast knowledge. Kelvin Santiago-Valles has been a great influence and the perspective he provided was indispensable for me, especially at times of confusion and impasse. Shelley Feldman’s interjections, questions, comments, as well as her own work have been quite clarifying. In addition to their personal support in both good times and bad, this book would not be possible without my friends and family both in the United States and Turkey. Their emotional and material support at different times and places were essential. I want to particularly thank those friends who helped me through the research process, or gave their time to read, edit and make invaluable suggestions to the different chapters and versions of this book. My friend Zhandarka Kurti read through and edited the whole book, sparing her valuable time from her own research. Kenneth Barr, Ben Grossman, Liz Wheeler, and Paul Gerlitz worked on different parts and made this book a much better read.



The discussions and the intellectual work with the members of the Binghamton Justice Project were quite inspiring. From I.B. Tauris, Sarah Thomas and Sophie Rudland worked with me patiently on the manuscript. Last but not least, I would like to thank those who agreed to be a part of the research, and those who helped me reach my interviewees. Without their generosity, this work would not be possible.


In 1970, the prison population in Turkey was a little more than 56,000. Within three decades it increased threefold and reached 165,000. The general population only doubled during this same period. The incarceration rate rose from 157 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 204 in 2014. There are variations inbetween: in 1990, it was 81, and in 2000 the rate was only 73. From the year 2000 onwards, it rose steadily, and as of 2015 the rate of imprisonment was 222. A prison construction boom has also occurred in this last decade: between 2006 and 2015, 91 new prisons were constructed and 32 new buildings were added to the old penal institutions. Altogether they have a capacity of holding 167,620 people.1 Among the newly constructed prisons, one stands out as being the largest penal complex in Europe: Silivri. Silivri Campus – as it is officially called – is like a town in itself. It consists of nine different prisons, a shopping centre, childcare, classrooms, courtrooms, a barber, 2,592 security cameras and 2,000 personnel. Turkey also has the largest courthouse in Europe. Built in 2011, the Istanbul Justice Palace can hear up to 326 cases at a time. In fact, Turkey has the largest courthouse in the world; Istanbul’s Anatolian Justice Palace is also the largest public building in Turkey since its opening in 2012.2 Since 2002, more than 130 new ‘justice palaces’ have been built in cities across Turkey.3 The Turkish police was also reinforced with new technologies, more personnel, new units, as well as an astounding



number of new private security firms that complement its operations. Today there are 238,568 private security guards and about 270,000 police personnel compared to only 20,000 in 1970.4 If not unprecedented, these figures are indicative of a quantitative trend for more security and penal resources in the repertoire of the Turkish state, aggregating within the last couple of decades. Is this a response to a growing crime rate? Did the Turkish state construct new penal and justice complexes and add to its security personnel to respond to an increasing criminality? Or are there other political, economic or social forces that can account for this growth? Throughout this book, I delve into these questions and offer an understanding of the crime issue and responses to it in Turkey. I do not take a criminological framework to find a direct link between crimes and their policing and punishment, but instead try to understand politics of crime and processes of criminalization that complicate this simple link. Crimes and the responses to them, I argue, are always a question of politics. In turn, I aim to decipher and make sense of a new politics of crime and new processes of criminalization that have been under construction since the 1990s, which can be placed among the sources of the quantitative – and qualitative, as will be shown – trends listed above. I define crime both as an ideology and as a socio-political relation. The former calls for a reading that unveils discursive processes, while the latter looks at the practices of the state as central in the production of crime. Crime as an ideology decontextualizes an act and its subjects, and hides the social and political processes within which it takes place. Thus, it depoliticizes the conflicts, inequalities and contradictions, which are constitutive of what is defined as crime. As an ideology, crime is also a discursive tool to define and distinguish groups of people as dangerous others, and thus it is a marginalizing discourse that legitimizes particular forms of state intervention, especially through criminal justice institutions. Crime as a socio-political relation, on the other hand, recontextualizes the subject in ‘the social forces and contradictions accumulating within it (rather than simply in terms of the danger to ordinary folks), or in terms of the wider historical context in



which it occurs (i.e. in terms of a historical conjuncture, not just a date on the calendar).’5 It is only through such a contextualized reading that ‘the whole terrain of the problem changes in character.’6 Crime is a social construct, as well as a political question – one that belongs to the sphere of the state and its institutions, including the police, law and prisons. Crime does not take shape in isolation but always in relation to these institutions; its meaning is accessible only through an analysis of the sociopolitical configurations within which it takes place. In examining politics of crime and criminalization, I am not interested in all of the security and penal responses but instead one in particular: the police. In order to untangle the subject matter, I focus on crime discourses and police practices. Through their examination, I find that the new politics of crime distinguishes spatially and ethno-racially marked and gendered urban poor populations as ‘dangerous criminals’ to be controlled. In turn, this materializes in the criminalization of the urban poor, who are rendered ‘undesirable’ by the new arrangements in the political economy of the neoliberal Turkey. The new politics of crime corresponds to the social regulatory framework of the neoliberal era in which the urban poor are criminalized, and then managed through an expanded and diversified penal/security state. But these are made possible with strong discursive forms of crime. As I show through this book, the penal responses to poverty and disorder are legitimized through the ideological constitution of fear and police discourses that highlight a battle against crime in demographically, economically and politically volatile urban contexts. At the centre of the book is urban crime and the public order policing that deals with the crimes of the urban poor: theft, mugging, vandalism, drugs, among a host of misdemeanours and felonies. The book traces the recent restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police, launched in 2006 by the new police chief Hu¨seyin C¸apkın to address the rise in urban crime in Izmir. At that time, the Izmir Public Order Police began to introduce new strategies and technologies, thereby transforming itself into a professionalized and effective organization against ‘criminals’. This book demonstrates



that the transformation has rested on a deliberate strategy of profiling and criminalization of the ethno-racially differentiated and gendered urban poor populations, especially Kurdish migrants and Roma people. Claiming to institute a proactive/preventive policing strategy, the Izmir police have expanded their territorial control over the urban space, while specifically targeting the poor segments and populations in the city, and carefully distinguishing them from the ‘respectable’ and ‘innocent’ citizens. This was ensured through a strategy of ‘harassment’ of suspects, or ‘target populations’ in the words of Izmir police, who have the potential to commit crimes. Moreover, the introduction of new techniques of control, that evaluate police performance, and technologies, that oversee police practices in the streets, gave legitimacy to the police forces and increased its effectiveness. This book provides not only an analysis of the new policing but also a perspective from below, from a neighbourhood with potential ‘target populations’ where policing – and criminalization – practices of the Izmir Public Order Police can be decoded. In this field study, the ‘target populations’ of the new policing, especially young Kurdish men, describe their experiences and help decipher the transformation of the police in connection to their historical and structural relations with state violence. This historical imagination of the residents and their neighbourhood, which is being reconfigured through neoliberal urban processes, allows for an examination of the particular ways in which neoliberal state and subject formation take place in Turkey. In what follows, I link the transformation of the Izmir police to the ideologies that associated migrants in the cities with crime and disorder. These neoliberal crime ideologies not only criminalized segments of the urban poor but also offered legitimization mechanisms for a police organization in crisis. I argue that in order to respond to its crisis, the police organization was reinforced as a crime-fighting agency against common crimes that were allegedly threatening the neoliberal order, the city and its ‘respectable citizens’. The restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police is understood within the larger social ordering project of neoliberalism for which



‘dangerous classes’ and ‘dangerous places’ are to be eliminated from society, while ensuring the security for the ‘respectable citizens’ through new practices of control. The recent restructuring of the Izmir police also takes place within a longer history of the expansion of the penal state and police power experienced both in Turkey and abroad. Globally, since the 1970s and 1980s, the capitalist state has undergone a restructuring process; while its welfare functions have been substantially rolled back, penal/security mechanisms and practices have gradually become more diversified and expansive in their scope. As it has been argued, such a restructuring of the state indicates a new social regulatory arrangement: namely, that marginalized segments of the labouring populations are increasingly subjected to the coercive institutions and practices of the state. The neoliberal era has been marked by growing poverty and, in turn, segments of the urban poor who can no longer be fully integrated into the labour market or the social safety institutions of the welfare state have become increasingly surplus, and hence regulated and managed through the penal apparatus of the state.7 Nevertheless, the case of Turkey complicates the observed shift from the welfare to penal state, which has mostly been the case for core capitalist countries. The new state formations, discerned through the Izmir police, are in continuity with a long history of authoritarian state practices in Turkey. Instituting neoliberalism and its maintenance in Turkey has been made possible by ‘the regime of September 12’, which emerged from the coup d’e´tat of 12 September 1980. Reinforcing the national security state, ‘the regime of September 12’ expanded both legal and extra-legal state violence against political dissidents and the working classes. Empowering capital against labour, the state engaged in a thorough restructuring of the national economy. Moreover, the post-1980 period in Turkey was also shaped by the Kurdish question and the ‘war on terror’. Resisting ethno-racial repression, Kurds became an ‘internal threat’ against which the state consolidated its penal/security apparatus. Thus, the restructuring of the Izmir police, I argue, represents both a shift and continuity in the Turkish state’s authoritarian regulatory arrangements since the 1980s.



New mechanisms and strategies of control that are being instituted through the police organization in Izmir are located in the same trajectory with these penal/security arrangements and authoritarian mechanisms of the Turkish state. However, while the state in Turkey has been utilizing force and coercion in order to manage its organized working class populations and political dissidents, since the late 1990s it has incorporated a new strategy into its regulatory framework. According to this strategy, control of marginalized segments of labouring poor in urban areas takes place through an aggressive politics of criminalization and policing. These new forms of policing and regulation of the urban poor combines not only the elimination of welfare state, but also the authoritarian practices and institutions of the state which are configured in response to social unrest. In summary, this book is about common crimes and their policing, yet the perspective it takes understands them as historically produced processes and not simply as actions and reactions within a legal-institutional framework. The focus is on the social and political meanings of common crimes and police strategies. In defining crime as a political question, I try to overcome and replace the questions of criminology, the classical terrain in which the subject of crime belongs. Criminology, traditionally, tries to explain what crime is, who the criminal is, and how crime can be prevented. By contrast, the study of the politics of crime tries to ‘identify the forces that determine how, why and with what consequences societies choose to deal with crime and criminals as they do.’8 In turn, I aim to understand how and through what kind of processes do particular crimes start to constitute a danger to society? What are the historical and social relations that underpin these processes? Similarly, how can the police be seen not simply as a crime-fighting agency, but also as a political organ and a regulatory institution? How can we trace the dimensions of a contemporary (neoliberal) politics of crime? What are the objects and effects of it? And in which historical political context can we locate the current wave of criminalization and policing of segments of the urban poor in Turkey? In order to answer these questions, I borrow from two traditions that can complement each other: Marxist and Foucauldian perspectives.



Crime as a social relation is addressed through the works of Marxist scholars who critique the ahistorical conceptualization of crime in the criminological literature. Marxists radical criminologists describe the class dimensions of the law, state and police that could help construct a conception of politics of crime as a part of the social regulation of the labouring populations under capitalism. The Foucauldian analysis, on the other hand, is quite effective in developing a conceptualization of the regulation assemblage. From his analysis of the police, the regulatory functions and operations of them, as a part and reflection of the state, can be discovered. Adherents of Foucault argue that the police are part of a complex system of surveillance, control, discipline and management of populations. Supplementing the Marxist and Foucauldian analysis of crime with historical studies from different times and places, can help us to further understand the criminalization processes. A comparative reading of these studies allows for an understanding of the ethno-racial and gendered dimensions of crime and policing, thus exposing criminalization as a process of subject formation and subjection. This book offers a perspective from a semi-peripheral country and, in this way, it contributes to the contemporary literature on criminalization and policing, which has largely dealt with the experience of core capitalist countries. The case it presents elaborates on the regulation of the urban poor, gendered and marked both spatially and ethno-racially, in a semi-peripheral state that historically relied heavily on authoritarian techniques of control.9 While the neoliberal transformations promise to democratize the semi-peripheral state, this book shows that they do not eliminate but instead revise the authoritarian regulatory methods.

Time and Place It is necessary both to contextualize the subject matter of this book, and to locate it in the history and larger socio-structural processes within which it takes place. As stated above, the criminalization and new politics of crime, which will be elaborated on through the case of Izmir, can be located in the longer history of neoliberalism and the



restructuring of the Turkish state dating back to the 1980s. Neoliberalism and the history of the Kurdish question has fundamentally affected the formation of coercive state practices and structural violence over the labouring populations and ethno-racial minorities. This contextualization is indispensible to make sense of the social relations of crime and processes of criminalization in contemporary cities across Turkey. Since the 1980s, neoliberalism has shaped processes of capitalist accumulation and the state in Turkey in conjunction with transformations in the global political economy. As in the other geographies of the South, the neoliberal transformation of Turkey has been put in place through IMF and World Bank-led Structural Adjustment Programs. The neoliberal restructuring of the economy replaced the developmentalist import substitution industrialization regime with an export orientation. These transformations in Turkey were made possible because of a violent military coup and an interim regime (1980– 3) during which political opposition, and working class and left-wing movements were successfully repressed. The 1980 coup and its varied institutions are considered to be effective strokes in the consolidation of neoliberalism and the interests of a more powerful and organized capitalist class in Turkey.10 The economic transformations were put in effect mainly by the Motherland Party (MP), ‘democratically’ elected at the end of the interim period. During the two terms of MP rule (1983– 7 and 1987– 91) social expenditures were drastically cut, and economic deregulation and the removal of trade barriers took place. Agricultural deregulation erased government support through pricing, while the elimination of subsidies and loans destroyed rural economies and created dependence on agricultural imports from the core capitalist countries. The effects of neoliberalism were very disillusioning indeed. The control of the working classes as well as deregulation of the labour market reduced the power and living standards of labour. Growing regional and class inequalities, poverty, unemployment, a large reduction in real wages, the destruction of social safety nets and an expanding informal sector for the labouring populations were setting the background for the thriving luxurious



lifestyles, new consumption and leisure patterns of the rich urban populations.11 Once an important trade port and urban industrial centre, Izmir also has been undergoing a steady economic decline, especially since the 1990s. As a trade port, Izmir has a long history as a vibrant economic centre. For centuries its geographical position provided it with a strategically important role in connecting the trade routes to its agricultural hinterland. After the 1950s, it emerged as an important industrial centre as a result of developmentalist state policies that aimed to increase the industrial capacity of the national economy. The development of new industries transformed Izmir from a commercial city into an industrial one with numerous medium and large-scale plants, employing the labour of a growing urban working class.12 The economic opportunities provided by the new industries, the sustained growth in agriculture due to mechanization, as well as the further rise of the commercial sector drew increasing numbers of migrants from different parts of Turkey to cities like Izmir. The new industries were especially in need of a cheap labour force, which was going to be filled by the migrants. The influx of working class emigrants transformed the city both economically and socially. The population of Izmir rose from 359,000 in 1950 to more than one million in 1980.13 The urban geography also changed rapidly: migrants constructed shantytowns and new neighbourhoods on state-owned land particularly in areas close to industrial facilities.14 By the end of the 1970s, 240,000 homes were constructed, extending from the centre of the city towards its periphery. The number of residents in the shantytowns composed 40 per cent of the total population of Izmir.15 The post-1980s, however, reversed the upward trend in economic growth and employment opportunities as neoliberal economic policies started to take hold. The removal of protection and incentives for industrial firms in line with the free-market ideology of neoliberalism reshaped the urban economies and economic life in general. By abandoning Keynesian developmentalist state policies, Izmir’s industries were exposed to competition with cheap imports,



resulting in an extensive downsizing of the industrial sector.16 Izmir thus transformed into a post-industrial city, with an emphasis on the service sector and an expanded informal economy. The experience of neoliberal transformations was not limited to the economy; it was political, ideological and cultural as well. Various nationwide institutions, along with the laws, constitution and guidelines of this regime have survived in the present. In turn, the neoliberal regime in Turkey was equipped with a powerful state apparatus and ideological tools, as well as the vigorous outside support of the EU and the US, in the pursuit of its economic, political and social transformation.17 Since the 1980s, working-class movements and left-wing politics were violently repressed through newly invented forms of criminality and punishment. In this process, prisons and policing were joined to the old and new military organs and tools of the state of exception, and new disciplinary institutions were designed to govern everyday life more strictly and completely. I˙mset lists the figures that speak to the scale of state terrorism during the 1980 military regime: A total of 650,000 people were detained and most suspects were either beaten or tortured. Over 500 people died while under detention as a result of torture; 85,000 people were placed on trial mainly in relation to thought crimes by association; 1,683,000 people were officially listed in police files as suspects; 348,000 Turks and Kurds were banned from travelling abroad; 15,509 people were fired from their jobs for political reasons; 114,000 books were seized and burned; 937 films were banned; 2,729 writers, translators, journalists and actors were put on trial for expressing their opinions.18 Since the military coup, the state in Turkey has amassed its penal/ security organs for the maintenance of the neoliberal order against its ‘internal and external enemies’. The ideologies about the omnipresent ‘internal/external enemies’ reinforced the legitimacy of authoritarian state practices, and the regime’s Law (understood as the legal system, police, courts, prisons, and so on). At the same time,



the security organs and criminal justice institutions were deeply politicized, powerfully situating themselves and consolidating against these ‘enemies’. The liberal ideology defines the authoritarian practices of the Turkish state as a traditional lineage that the republic inherited from the Ottoman Empire. The powerful state apparatus, according to this ideology, is not a historically reproduced and transformed category but a remnant of the past as embodied in an autonomous military organization. The military character of the state was associated with this supposed autonomy of the Turkish Armed Forces, which rests its power on the protection of the Kemalist regime. However, such an analysis does not recognize the formation of authoritarianism and the omnipresence of the military in the politics of Turkey, which is the product of a historical process of formation and reproduction of capitalist relations. Savran, for instance, refutes analyses that delineate the military as an organ independent from the capitalist classes in Turkey.19 On the contrary, he emphasizes the cooperation and interdependence between the military and the capitalist regime. In his analysis of the military coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980, the historical processes of class struggle are central.20 In spite of the belief that the military is an autonomous organization, Savran explains, it acted in cooperation with particular sectors of capital in the institutionalization of first the developmentalist and subsequently the neoliberal economy.21 Savran argues that military coups in Turkey were about the formation of capitalist relations and the state’s response to class struggle.22 The 1960 coup, while it seemingly gave democratic rights to labour was nonetheless very much a result of internal struggle among the different forms of capital. The 1961 constitution partially extended the democratic rights of labour but also took precautions against particular segments of capital.23 Labour and working class struggles continued to escalate during the 1960 –80 period despite the military coup in 1971. However, with the 1980 coup the political unrest of the period was crushed, and from then on finance capital increasingly gained the upper hand on industrial capital. The authoritarianism was not a product of a long



history of state power continuing from the Ottoman period, as many liberals contend, but was intimately linked to processes of capitalist relations and class struggle. The Turkish state and its Law were products of these, rather than some powerful remnants of the past. The history of military coups in Turkey has earned it the description of a national security state. While the security state has been consolidated through this long history of authoritarianism against its ‘enemies’ within Turkey, the present is largely located within the regime instituted by the 1980 coup, namely ‘the regime of September 12’. Turkey’s neoliberal regime and its corollary state apparatus was instituted by the coup. Among this regime’s practices of order, punishment and policing have been crucial, especially in terms of controlling political dissidence. Various forms and practices of violence have been engrained in its institutions. But the Law in its reproduction of injustice has been central to the nature of the Turkish state even after the formation of formal democracy. The authoritarianism, moreover, is not simply a product of the legal power of the military, its legally folded actions and the military coups. In other words, the law is not only formal, but also informal and extra-legal. Agamben’s exposition of the state of exception as a permanent and integral part of the state’s operations is quite useful for understanding the authoritarian practices of the Turkish state. Drawing on Benjamin and Schmitt, Agamben defines the state of exception as integral to sovereign power and not outside it: ‘The violence exercised in the state of exception clearly neither preserves nor simply posits law, but rather conserves it in suspending it and posits it in excepting itself from it.’24 The state of exception is formative of the law (as well as the Law), not an externality or an exception in this sense. One of the more important themes in debates about the state in Turkey focuses precisely on extra-legal practices and the presence of a ‘state-within-the-state’.25 While operating ideologically against different subjects through its history, ‘statewithin-the state’, which is a composition of non-state and state actors with protection from the politicians, eliminated, repressed and dispersed its ‘enemies’.



The problems posed by working class and leftist social movements were very much at the centre of the 1980 coup. However, the new regime was concerned with much more than these movements and the social unrest they generated. Historically inhabiting the underdeveloped regions of Turkey’s geography, and systematically excluded from the developmentalist state and industrialization processes, Kurdish populations, who intensified their struggle after the 1960s constituted a problem for the state. The coup and its Kemalist ideology eagerly repressed the Kurdish people as Kurds resisted the project of Turkification since before the formation of the Turkish Republic. While the Turkification project of Kemalism since the 1920s refused to incorporate the Kurdish people into the republican power structures, the state repressed any political demands of the Kurds.26 Throughout this period, the state utilized various violent practices of ethno-racial repression of the Kurdish people. The Turkish Republic, which was built on Turkish nationalism, had long disregarded any ethnic identity or ignored any demands from ethnic identities.27 After the 1980 coup, Kurdish politics and culture were penalized in a heavy and systematic manner. Political and cultural expressions of the Kurdish people were eliminated through the enactment of various laws. The Kurdish language was banned. Kurdish political parties, newspapers, and publishing houses were closed.28 Guerrilla resistance emerged in 1984 by the PKK (Partiya Karkereˆn Kurdistan, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party)29 as a response to oppression of the Kurdish people and elimination of legal political venues by the military coup. The war against the PKK – or the ‘war on terror’ – provided the pretext for further militarizing the dynamics and techniques of repression and consolidating authoritarian state power. The war against the PKK has further consolidated and shaped the Turkish authoritarian state, and the ‘state-within-the state’. The war in the Kurdish region has been indispensible in the production of antidemocratic, authoritarian practices and state formation in Turkey. The war itself naturally brought forward repression and violence on the Kurdish populations. From 1987 to 2002, OHAL (State of Emergency) was established in the Kurdish region. It maintained a



regime in which torture, extra-judicial killings and disappearances were abundant, and the authoritarian law ruled the everyday and political lives of Kurdish people.30 OHAL amplified the extralegality and violence alongside and within the varied organizations of the national security state.31 The army, militarized police, extra-legal organs of the state (most importantly JITEM, an paramilitary organ whose existence has been well-known yet insistently denied by military officials), as well as state-organized civil vigilantism, whose recruits were also Kurds, have been integral to the war on and repression of the Kurdish people and their social movements. During the 1990s, the effects of the exacerbated war in the Kurdish region started to spill over to Turkey’s western cities. The widespread destruction of Kurdish villages during the war and the already weak local and regional economies forced many Kurds from their lands to the cities between the years 1986 and 1995. According to estimates, between 950,000 and 1.2 million Kurds were forced to migrate.32 Cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Diyarbakır, Adana, Mersin and Bursa constituted the main destinations of Kurds in search for job opportunities and a livelihood.33 Those who migrated had experienced the war, and the pain and violence that came with it. Their objective conditions and subjective positions in the cities, in which they arrived, reflected this.34 At this time, Turkey’s western cities received the large numbers of Kurdish people who could no longer be integrated into the neoliberal urban economies, especially in the formal sector. The neoliberalization of the urban economies had been transforming the labour market to the disadvantage of the organized working classes. The conditions of the working classes in the cities in parallel to their deteriorating position in the economy had been gradually declining. Poverty and marginalization became the rule for the newcomers. In contrast to the former generation of migrants, the new Kurdish migrants did not find an easy entry into urban economic life. Formally integrated through gecekondu-ization, migrants in the 1990s did not have opportunities to construct shanties on their own, and become a part of formal labour market, but instead became renters, while



constituting the cheap and exploitable labour pool for the informal sector and the precarious jobs. The war and forced migration, though conducted on the basis of nationalist politics, presented the neoliberal urban economies with an exploitable and cheap labour force. Kurdish migrants have constituted the reserve army of labour for the informal economy of Turkey’s industrial centres.35 In this process, Kurdish migrants have radically changed the cityscape and urban processes in Izmir. Even though neoliberal restructuring has resulted in economic decline and stagnation of the industrial sector, migrants continued to arrive in the city in search of security and livelihood. Yet, Kurdish migrants could hardly be integrated into the shrinking formal labour market and remained on the fringes of the Izmir’s informal economy. For the native populations of the cities, especially the middle classes, Kurdish migrants constituted a threat, both political and criminal. Izmir’s middle classes articulated their anxiety as a reaction to the city’s poor migrants by defining themselves as secular Kemalist nationalists. While the reaction of secularism was against the governing Islamist party, the local ‘others’, according to Izmir’s native populations (I˙zmirli), included conservative Islamists and Kurdish migrants because of the supposed threat they posed to the modern order in the city.36 As Kurdish migrants became more visible in the urban landscape, they were regarded as ‘inferior’, ‘ignorant’, ‘peasants’, or worse, outright ‘terrorists’, ‘invading’ the city and living in it ‘by ill-gotten gains’, as revealed in Sarac og˘lu’s study on the attitudes of middle-class Izmirlis.37 In turn, in Izmir, and in other big cities, the ethno-racially differentiated urban poor who had been victimized by the neoliberal project started to constitute what were construed as the ‘dangerous populations’. Urban crime discourses were central to the construction of the dangerousness and racialization of these populations. In sum, the historical structural context of criminalization and policing in contemporary urban Turkey has been shaped by two important sources: neoliberal economic and political transformations and the post-1984 Kurdish question. In turn, the dynamics of urban poverty, urban economies, and Kurdish migration as well



as the history of the making and re-making of authoritarian state practices, especially ‘the regime of September 12’ draws the contours of crime and their policing in contemporary Izmir and other large cities in Turkey.

On Methods and Organization There are two analytical dimensions to this book: ideology and practice, both of which are constitutive elements of the neoliberal politics of crime. Their analysis helps decipher the processes of criminalization and the transformation of the state in Turkey. However, there are multiple layers through which they are investigated. Different time scales are taken into account at both micro and macro layers, from the neighbourhood to the national level, from the present time to the longer history of neoliberalism, the state and the Kurdish question. The framework and perspective that I draw in Chapter 1 tries to coherently bring together these different layers and analytical dimensions in its analysis. The framework of this book necessitated the utilization of different methods and a reliance on different types of sources, which includes archival data, ethnographic data, institutional analysis, interviews, statistics, and human rights files among others. While this places the book in danger of being methodologically eclectic, a multi-layered analysis would not be possible without resorting to these different kinds of sources. The Turkish National Police (TNP) has been undergoing a transformation for some time, but the type of thorough and deliberate restructuring mentioned in this book, has been more or less specific to Izmir at the time of research.38 To understand the restructuring of the Izmir police, I have conducted interviews with police officials in Izmir, especially high-level captains in the Public Order Department, in April and May of 2008. With the approval of the Izmir Police Department, I have participated in two meetings, regularly held at new subdivisions of the Public Order Police. There I could observe and note discussions. The Izmir Police Department also provided me with documents that describe the new methods,



technologies and units formed against crime. As has been indicated by one of the police captains, the documents were reviewed before release, thus they excluded some information. Yet, overall the information provided by the Izmir police was quite thorough and extensive. I have been let into the police centres, introduced to police officials for short interviews, as well as given extensive interviews by those who are most active in the restructuring process. These opportunities are rare openings to a normally closed police organization that distrusts outside examination and inquiries. At the end of my research, I also conducted interviews at the General Directorate of Security (EGM) in Ankara where I was received much more suspiciously. Although there were members who were more sympathetic to my inquiries, the common response in the General Directorate was to question my intentions and not provide information except for bureaucratic functioning of the police. Even though the Izmir Police also made a background search before they officially started to talk and give me information, the welcoming and sharing attitude of Izmir police officials was an interesting surprise at first. It is the successful image they wanted to emphasize and their attempts at gaining scholarly legitimacy made my research possible. During my study, I have received comments regarding the importance of my research for the department, and offered coresearch projects to study public satisfaction about the new policing in Izmir. Moreover, my research was made possible as a result of the professionalization of the police in Izmir. They did not see themselves as the sole authority on crime, but wanted to share information and collaborate with other professionals of crime, mainly criminologists, or crime scholars. Even though this is not a criminological study, I was accepted as a criminologist, a scholar who could be useful in their fight against crime. This is reflective of the findings of my research about the transformations of the police. Police sources are not the only ones I have depended on in order to investigate the new policing practices in Izmir. I have also relied on two other sources. The first source is the human rights files at the Izmir Bar Association. I have randomly chosen about one hundred recorded cases whose submissions are dated June 2006 and afterwards



to see the effects and practices of the new policing. The cases mostly include complaints’ information, name, job status, age, birthplace and address, their description of abuse and, if available, the court proceedings and hospital reports. The cases were open to the public to record, yet not to photocopy. I recorded only those files in detail that could reveal the patterns of police practice and abuse. The second source was a neighbourhood study, which would help to provide a close-up microanalysis of the practices of the Izmir Public Order Police in action. I carried out the study in a district of Izmir, Narlıdere, from October 2007 to June 2008, concentrating on the shantytown neighbourhood (shortly referred to as Tepe) as one of the locations where ‘target populations’ inhabit. I have interviewed residents of the shantytown neighbourhoods, neighbourhood headmen, shop owners and teachers, as well as the other residents of the larger district of Narlıdere who differentiate themselves from the Tepe residents. The subjects of crime and police are not particularly easy for respondents to discuss with a ‘strange’ researcher, especially if the respondent positions himself or herself in opposition to the law. Yet, the interviews during the neighbourhood study bring forth a very bountiful source, which complements and revises the study with the Izmir police. They provide a closer look at the police practices that produce the processes of criminalization. The neighbourhood study thus represents a ‘perspective from below’ and complements the institutional study of the police. This ‘perspective from below’ is read through a historical thinking of the Tepe and Narlıdere within the larger social, political and economic structures. In defining ethnographic methodology within shantytowns and slums, Loı¨c Wacquant advises researchers to locate the neighbourhood in the long-term: in the diachronic sequence of historical transformation of which they are the material expression and which never find their source and principle in the neighbourhood under examination . . . but also [to conduct] an institutional analysis that brings out the monographic reality to the macro structural understanding,



although ostensibly absent from the neighbourhood, still govern the practices and representations of its residents.39 While the chapter on Narlıdere simultaneously links the individual stories to particular historical and social forces and processes at work, the case study should be read with the ‘Time and Place’ section in this introductory chapter. In addition, in order to understand the ideologies of crime, I examined the crime discourses of the mainstream media, police and criminological studies in Turkey. This has been done through a review of the literature on crime and policing in Turkey, the investigation of police sources such as police magazines and journals, and the archival research of mainstream newspapers, such as Sabah, Milliyet, Hu¨rriyet, and Radikal. The national newspapers were mainly researched through internet archives. I also conducted archival research of Izmir’s local newspaper, Yeni Asır, at the Izmir City Library. The findings are presented in the second and third chapters. The growing crime panic, as located through the archives of newspapers is productive on two levels. On the one hand, a crime panic defines migrants and the urban poor as criminal subjects. On the other hand, it prepares for and demands fundamental changes in the treatment of these subjects. Crime discourses, while calling for penal action, also expose the crisis in the organization of the police. Police discourses about crime as well as about the problems of policing are deciphered through the study of publications, writings and public statements of police officials. Newspapers also include a variety of information about the stance of the police and the selfperception of police organization; I also referred to these in order to support my arguments. This book is composed of five chapters. The first chapter is a conceptual and historical introduction that describes the framework and presents a literature review on the global neoliberal transformations of criminal justice institutions. The former can provide a general framework for the politics of crime, while the latter will provide historically specific configurations of the politics of crime across numerous and diverse neoliberal contexts.



Chapter 2 describes crime as an ideology, produced through the media, criminological studies and the police. Throughout the 1990s, cities such as Izmir witnessed an explosion in poverty and migration, and were shaped and disrupted by political and economic struggles and insecurities. However, discourses about the rising crime rate and the fear of crime enveloped their subject populations after the 1995 riots in Istanbul’s Gazi shantytown and the following May Day. The subjects of urban crime and disorder were being established as ethno-racially marked shantytown dwellers that were constituted as the ‘dangerous populations’ of ‘invaded’ cities. The same urban poor and their neighbourhoods were established as the sources of crime. The chapter explains how these discourses invoke criminality as a product of a specific culture of poverty, especially of the Kurdish migrants whose presence have transformed Turkey’s western cities; and, in turn, it describes the attitudes and ideologies that had an impact on the strategies and practices of the state. The third chapter documents, mainly from secondary resources, the crisis of the TNP during the 1990s. This way it contextualizes the particular discursive responses of the police against urban crime that became dominant especially after the 2000s. The chapter elaborates on the use of fear and ideologies of crime by the Turkish police to overcome the crisis it has been facing, and to gain legitimacy and establish its power. Violent police practices, human rights records and corruption had become a problem for the Turkish state especially due to the democratization demands of the EU, and the rising impact of human rights within the global political discourses. Corruption and ineffectiveness of the police only further contributed to its deteriorated public image. Faced with limitations on its powers, the necessity to revitalize its public perception was paramount for the Turkish police. Smartly, the police rested its claims to power on its fight against urban crime and its role in providing security to ‘respectable citizens’. Together with the previous chapter, Chapter 3 exposes the ideological processes that prepared the way for the restructuring of the police in Izmir. The fourth chapter explains in detail the new elements, methods, technologies and strategies of new public order policing in Izmir



based on my research on the Izmir Public Order Police department. In doing so, these transformations are exposed as reflecting neoliberalism with its new forms of authoritarian state practices. They institutionalize an aggressive policing over the city’s poor, while paying utmost attention to how the police can ameliorate its relations with the ‘public’ or ‘respectable citizens’. The professionalization of the Izmir Public Order Police goes together with new and indisputably class-based strategies of the police. In addition to the study of the police department, the reflection of aggressive proactive policing techniques can be found in the human rights complaints filed with the Izmir Bar, and in publicly known cases of police brutality. Thus, Chapter 4 starts from the institutional dimensions and describes the strategies of the new policing, and concludes with questions of the power of the police and the state. Together with Chapter 5, this chapter tries to envisage the dynamics of policing within the processes of neoliberal state formation, its regulatory arrangements, and its role in the ways in which the ‘criminal’ subjects are formed. Chapter 5 provides another perspective on the new policing strategies in relation to the ‘target populations’. It rests on the neighbourhood study, locating links that connect the neighbourhood to the larger economic and political relations and processes. The chapter is a case study of policing practices and a tunnel to the historical-structural dynamics of criminalization at the same time. Through this study, the experiences of Kurdish youth proved to be of particular importance. It was their encounters with the police and the practices of the police in the neighbourhood that clearly exposed the new processes of criminalization (racialization and depoliticization, understood as an ideology). The chapter aims to situate criminalization through policing as an integral element of the neoliberal state and social regulation – and reproduction – of racialized poverty. It shows how the youth in the neighbourhood are constituted as politically and socially dangerous elements, implicating the ways in which subjects are formed. The historical and structural position of the residents with respect to the state violence puts this criminalization process into perspective. It also complicates



the distinction between common and political crime, and that of common and political policing. Following this case study, I argue that while violence and authoritarianism has been a part of the Turkish state, the expansion of apolitical control through ‘dangerous’ common criminals, is quite novel. It adds to the authoritarian repertoire of the state, while using security from crime as a way to claims to its legitimacy. The chapter is far from representing the experience of the urban poor, not even the poor Kurdish youth inhabiting the shantytowns in the large metropolises of Turkey. Nor can the Izmir police department and its new reorganization represent the whole police organization. In fact, it may even be singled out in its extensiveness and diligence in establishing a new form of urban policing. But both the study of the Izmir police and Narlıdere can be understood in relation to the larger historical structures and their transformation in Turkey. They are a part of a process of the changing configurations and structures of the state and of its subjects. They represent a tendency, and embody the new politics of crime and its effects, which are in the making. This book should be read with this in mind.


This chapter has two aims, first, to draw together the conceptual and theoretical framework of the book, and second, to review the historically specific configurations of the penal/security state formation in the neoliberal era. Two theoretical traditions and their conceptual tools inform this project: Marxist and Foucauldian perspectives. I also borrow from the vast historical literature on crime, policing and criminal justice institutions in a variety of geographies, which help negotiate these competing theories in their exposition of the process of criminalization and state formation. In the first part, I explore the concepts and theories that are useful in developing an analysis of politics of crime and criminalization. In the second part of the chapter, I concentrate on the literature of neoliberal transformations within criminal justice institutions around the world. This is necessary, for I situate the Turkish case in parallel to these global transformations that have been shaping the neoliberal politics of crime.



Conceptualizing the Politics of Crime and Criminalization Law, police, state Concerned with the politics of crime,1 this book is interested in the ideological processes and practices of the state.2 The book examines the police organization and its practices as well as the ideologies of crime that shape and legitimize these practices. The police organization, understood as the central part of the organization and operation of the capitalist state, constitutes one of the central subjects of this project. Following various accounts of the police organization, the police can be seen as a political organ embodying the state, shaped largely through political and social conflicts.3 There are different ways in which the relation between the police and the state can be drawn. Firstly, in a specific manner, political police and the policing of political dissidence show that police organization deals with direct threats against the state and the order it reproduces. This way, the police force is not a crime fighting organ, but a coercive organization that protects the state and maintains its order from its political enemies. However, as many scholars argue, the policing of common crimes also constitutes a political process. Crime control, the terrain in which police organization operates requires state authority. It is necessary both to define criminal acts through its law and to ensure the application of the punishments. The state deals with crime not as a mediator between different actors, but because those acts threaten the power and authority of the state. The definition of crime and its control in this sense is always a political problem, therefore questions of police belongs to the sphere of the state and politics. Conceptually, the relation between police and the state can be understood through Foucauldian studies that are interested in the genealogical analyses of the police. According to Pasquino as the ‘science of the police’ that developed in the pre-modern Europe, ‘police’ denoted a technology of government.4 In this period, the regulation of the populations became a problem as the feudal system and its regulatory arrangements were dissolving. Populations who were freed from feudal ties started to compose a new object of government.



The ‘science of police’ would try to respond to this governmental need, ‘to constitute and to fashion’ different aspects of the population.5 The ‘population’ was transformed into ‘a value, an object of analysis and intervention’, and thus, its management through various other social regulatory institutions became a focus of the state. In turn, the ‘science of police’ was the combination of: A whole cluster of practices and knowledges [. . .]: assistance, tutelage, medicalization (not to mention areas which have already been analysed by others, such as the prison and its disciplinary mechanisms, sexuality, psychiatry and the family); practices and knowledges [which] together have woven that even-tightening web which constitutes the social.6 Hence, ‘police’ was not just related to the prevention of dangers and maintenance of order, but also to the production of the ‘happiness and health’ of the population as a means to increase the capacities of the state.7 Police were about forming ‘the good order of a population’.8 Foucault’s lectures on Security, Territory, Population, published in English in 2007, discuss the concept of the police state – or its initial usage – in order to show the intimate connection between the police and the state. Similar to the ‘science of police’, the concept of the police state was related to the idea of increasing government’s forces and controlling the activities of the populations, in so far as it is related to the force and power of the state. Police, in this sense, were about ‘effectively integrating men’s [sic] activity into the state, into its forces, and into the development of these forces.’9 The population and circulation (of goods, of people, of communication) were the concerns of police, as they ‘will be effectively useful to the constitution and development of the state’s forces.’10 At the same time, this idea of the police coexisted with the military/diplomacy apparatus, which situated the state with respect to other states, and its territory and sovereignty with respect to others. The police was the increase of the state’s internal forces, which were limited by the (external) military capacity of other states. Hence, police were the



form of power that maintained and strengthened the raison d’e´tat of the state. Police and the state were inseparable.11 The modern sense of the police came along with a new idea of governmentality and state, which separated the police from the economy, the population management, welfare, law and juridical apparatus, diplomatic and military apparatus. In this new idea of governmentality, the formation and the growth of forces and order ‘[would] be assured by a whole series of institutions, apparatuses, mechanisms and so on, and then elimination of disorder [would] be the function of the police.’12 For example, in the case of the nineteenth century US, Monnkonnen argues that the welfare functions and service operations of the police organization were relegated to other agencies.13 Marxist scholar Neocleous, too, locates the same shift in Europe. There, the police organization became an institution of crime prevention and security at the end of the nineteenth century, whereas early modern functions of the police included many other aspects of social life.14 Through presenting its genealogy, Foucauldians describe police as an abstraction, as a form of governmentality and power. Such a conceptualization is useful for understanding the relation between the state and police, also taken in this book; the operations and practices of police present us clues for understanding the regulatory frame of the state and its techniques of government that are organized to manage populations. The concept of the police is closely related to the technologies, strategies and mechanisms that constitute the network of government. However, the Foucauldian perspective fails to present an understanding about why and for what the state and the police exist, whose interest they represent, and for whom the power operates. The police exist in connection to an abstracted power, and its function and politics remain vague if not fully absent. Without fully dismissing the Foucauldian perspective, the problems can be overcome by the Marxist studies of the police and the state. Poulantzas, in State, Power, Socialism, argues that the function of the capitalist state and its institutions is to reproduce the capitalist order in the largest manner, to ‘duplicate’ the most imperative conditions for the capitalist accumulation, which are based on



exploitation of labour, land, nature, etc.15 Police as a part of the capitalist state can be located within the larger mode of regulation that maintains and reproduces capitalist accumulation.16 The police organization is described as a class project.17 Like the state, the police in modern capitalist societies are produced through class relations and in turn reproduce those relations. As Hall et al. suggests: ‘The Law’ – the legal system, the police, the court and the prison system – is manifestly part and parcel of the judicial organization of the modern capitalist state . . . General questions of law and crime, of social control and consent, of legality and illegality, of conformity, legitimization and opposition, belong, and must ultimately be posed unambiguously in relation to, the question of the capitalist state and class struggle.18 Crime, poverty, ideology While the police force can be described as a class project constituted by class struggle, it has been firmly established as a crime-fighting agency since the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Its role to prevent crime and catch criminals, however, is in fact an ideology as Neocleous suggests.19 The police have a variety of roles and functions other than fighting crime. Nonetheless, it is necessary to still understand the relationship between crime and police. For Marxist criminologists, crime is not an act of individuals who are anti-social, deviant, or born-criminal. Instead, it is a relational category that takes shape within complexities of social and historical processes. Hall et al. are explicit about their analysis of crime – in their case, mugging – as a relational category between ‘crime and reaction to crime’,20 located in a particular social historical context: If you look at this relation in terms of the social forces and contradictions accumulating within it (rather than simply in terms of the danger to ordinary folks), or in terms of the wider historical context in which it occurs (i.e. in terms of a historical conjuncture, not just a date on the calendar), the whole terrain of the problem changes in character.21



Moreover, as Spitzer puts it: ‘deviance cannot be understood apart from the dynamics of control’ of the working classes.22 Within the project of regulation of population and reproduction of the capitalist order, working classes constitute the ‘problem populations’, the objects of social control.23 The police and other criminal justice institutions are organized as the social control organs of the capitalist state, and they operate to control ‘problem populations’.24 Neocleous, for instance, locates the object of control as poverty. He draws a close relation between police and social policy, between policing and regulation of the poor.25 But, not all poor people are regulated and controlled through the police and criminal justice. The nineteenth century governmental arrangements distinguished the poor into two categories: unproductive vagrants and idles on the one hand, and the ‘genuinely’ poor on the other.26 The ‘undeserving poor’ were the ‘dangerous classes’, who refused to work and comply with the bourgeois order. They committed crimes in the bourgeoning industrial city and constituted a daily problem to the bourgeois order. They were also ‘dangerous’ in their capacity to revolt against the capitalist classes and their authority. Crime and criminal classes were more than a menace to personal security; they constituted a dire threat to the social order. By rejecting the ‘virtues’ of the ‘orderly’ society, the ‘undeserving poor’ came to constitute a problem category, a ‘residuum’ in the industrialized society to be controlled. While the ‘undeserving poor’ were to be managed and disciplined through penal intervention, the police, the courts, the workhouses and so on, the genuinely poor would be the objects of philanthropist activities, and later of the welfare state. The studies of nineteenth century policing in England explicated the concern of police with poverty both through intervening with criminal threats and popular resistances.27 Modern police became the central organ to control the unruly poor classes.28 As Monnkonen suggests, the police institution dealt ‘with all the things that made the “dangerous class” dangerous – crime, disease, poverty, their raging animals and homelessness.’29 In this respect, police organization can be depicted as an instrument of the dominant classes within the project of the



reproduction of the social order. At the centre of their operations are the political resistances and everyday activities of the working classes that threaten capitalist order and discipline.30 In turn, the Poor Laws of the nineteenth century, which offered relief, were operating exactly on this distinction between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving poor’. Relief was not given to those ‘able bodied’ but yet to the ‘savage, semi-criminal class of people who should be harried out of existence.’31 This group was composed of vagrants, beggars, prostitutes, and the unemployed, and their regulation was going to be provided not by Poor Relief but by criminalization through the Vagrancy acts. The obedience and discipline of these ‘unruly’ and ‘criminal’ groups were relegated to penal processes rather than welfare.32 In fact, the ‘undeserving poor’ of the nineteenth century, who were associated with criminality, can be understood through the category of lumpenproletariat. Marx mentions the lumpenproletariat in his historical studies of class struggle. For example, in the Eighteenth Brumaire, he describes the lumpenproletariat as a class indefinable and unnameable, which belongs neither to the bourgeois nor to the working class: Alongside decayed roue´s with dubious means of subsistence and dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, moquereaus, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organgrinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars – in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French term la boheme.33 Yet, in other places, Marx’s perception of this ‘dangerous class’ is quite different. In Capital, for example, he defines the criminalized poor, or the lumpenproletariat, as a part of the reserve army of labour who were excluded from the productive processes, yet served as a part of the capitalist processes.



Peter Linebaugh also takes up a discussion of lumpenproletariat.34 Using a little known text of Marx on the theft of wood in late eighteenth-century England, he argues that crime is not a way of differentiating between lumpenproletariat and industrial proletariat – or ‘undeserving’ and ‘deserving’ poor. Rather, crime is as an expression of class relations and class struggle. In as much as the lumpenproletariat poses a danger to order, the ideological presentation of their acts constitutes the legitimating mechanisms for the capitalist law and its institutions. Thus crime and criminalization, reflecting the formation of ‘lumpen’ classes, are a part of the reproduction of the capitalist order and accumulation processes. Moreover, the hierarchical ordering of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor; working classes and lumpenproletariat, also corresponds to a racializing process. This ordering of working classes into criminals apart from ‘respectable populations’ serves to the formation of differentiated subjects and segmentation of the labouring classes, corresponding to differentiated positions within capitalist relations of production and control. Criminalized groups are perceived as a ‘race apart’, on which violent control – as well as coercive labour practices – can be employed. Thus, criminalization goes along with racialization as a strategy to differentiate and marginalize – as well as render more exploitable – the particular groups in capitalist/colonial societies. In its marking and racialization of particular populations, criminalization is not only about control of a particular class of people, but is also related to political processes of state formation and citizenship. In Criminal and Citizen in Modern Mexico, Buffington suggests that criminology and its criminalizing discourses served for the construction of ‘proper’ categories of citizenry in the formation of independent modern Mexico.35 Criminality, understood through the lens of gender, race and class, delineated the boundaries between ‘deserving’ and ‘respectable’ citizens, who are a part of the modern nation, and those who were ‘unable’ to be a part of modern relations and integrate to the society. Behind the ideology of ‘inability’ on the part of the marginalized, the modern Mexican nation state articulated the limits of citizenry. The criminalizing ‘discourses served to justify



the continued exploitation, persecution, and disenfranchisement of los de abajo, and thus guaranteed their effective exclusion from full citizenship.’36 In an effort to constitute order in urban Mexico, disorder was associated with the lower-class activities, both during the colonial period and afterwards, during the formation of the independent state.37 Those who disturbed order were also threats to capitalist discipline, and control organs were organized to apprehend ‘scandalous drunks, bearers of arms, brawlers, vagrants, gamblers, wounded, deserters, thieves, and in general all criminals. Given the nature of the specified crimes, most of these criminals were undoubtedly lower-class “plebes”.’38 The racializing effect of criminalization and the constitution of criminal subjects out of native populations can be observed within colonial contexts. Mark Brown, for instance, examines the scientific approaches utilized by the British colonial rule in India in order to understand Indian society through its criminality. The native criminal category in these scientific excursions was allowed to ‘know and categorize the peoples and cultures of India.’39 The knowledge about the criminality of native Indians was a racializing mechanism that could allow for an effective management of colonial society. Colonial criminologies constituted the foundation for the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 that helped to achieve colonial discipline. Thus, Brown argues: ‘The ideas about native criminals [. . .] arose out of a shifting mix of scholarly and administrative priorities strongly tied to the objectives of national domination and reflected a view of crime eminently suited to the imperial political and economic order.’40 Following this, crime is an ideological tool, connected to the politics of ordering society and regulating ‘dangerous populations’, while providing discursive tools for racial, spatial and gendered segmentation of the ‘dangerous’ groups from the ‘normal’, ‘civilized’ and ‘respectable’ ones. One of the important scholars who laid the ground for exposing the complexities of crime as an ideological and political question is Eric Hobsbawn. In two of his works, Bandits and Primitive Rebels, he poses novel questions about the relationship between crime and political action, between criminals and social resistance.41 Banditry, he argues, is most common at times of crises and pauperization, and



it arises as a reaction against those who constitute the exploiting classes. Moreover, in Bandits, he looks at criminal figures that take on some heroic character in public opinion. While the law defined banditry as a criminal act, peasant communities often remained on the side of the social bandit against the common oppressor classes. An example of this is Robin Hood, the noble robber, who committed illegal acts according to the authorities, yet the commoners never saw him as a criminal but rather a legendary hero. Similarly, examining nineteenth-century London, Peter Linebaugh describes famous characters in criminal life as legends among the working classes.42 Jack the Ripper’s stories of running away from prison circulated in the public sphere. It is quite understandable in a context where crime was a part of the everyday life of the labouring poor that legends about defiance of the law received such widespread acceptance and excitement. Crimes of subsistence, or crimes in defiance of the authority of the emerging capitalist class, or crimes that were punished with most unjust penalties could not be consented. The laws and the institutions of order were subjects of disrespect and disavowal. Ideologically, the acts of newly forming proletariat were defined as criminal. But from the perspective of marginalized populations, they were daily resistances to the rule of capital. In turn, crime constituted a problem for the capitalist order and the institution of wage-relations, hence ‘crime and the wage were two sides of the same coin.’43 In this perspective, crime is a form of resistance against the exploitation relations of capitalist societies. As Engels writes in the Condition of English Working Class: The revolt of the workers began soon after the first industrial development, and has passed through several phases . . . The earliest, crudest, and least fruitful form of this rebellion was that of crime. The working-man lived in poverty and want, and saw others were better off than he. It was not clear to his mind why he, who did more for society than the rich idler, should be the one to suffer under these conditions. Want conquered his inherited respect for the sacredness of property, and he stole.



We have seen how crime increased with the extension of manufacture; how the yearly number of arrests bore a constant relation to the number of bales of cotton annually consumed. The workers soon realized that crime did not help matters. The criminal could protest against the existing order of society only singly as one individual; the whole might of society was brought to bear upon each criminal, and crushed him with immense superiority.44 Pearson’s contemplation of the Luddites also exposes the thin line between criminality and political action.45 When in the early nineteenth century workers smashed the machines to resist the discipline of the mechanized labour process in the textile looms, or as in the case of peasant attacks on threshing machines, these acts were usually described as senseless violence, or in the words of a sociologist of the era ‘a relaxation of the most basic controls over socialized behavior’ or as ‘acts of blind vandalism’.46 The machine destruction behaviour of the working classes, Pearson argues, was not a primitive stage of political movements, but a traditional form of resistance to the new forms of dominance and exploitation. The machine breakers were not workers in general, but peasants who were discontent with the emerging factories that threatened their existence. Nonetheless, they were conscious attacks on the relations that were being forced upon them, and not irrational acts of violence as crime discourses would suggest. One important work that employs a similar conceptual frame but in the case of colonial Africa is a collection titled Banditry, Rebellion, and Social Protest in Africa.47 In his chapter, William Freund examines the close linkages between theft and social protest. He explains that rather than a stage before the constitution of working class struggles, theft was a ‘vehicle of protest’ that was not simply a self-seeking act but ‘an effective economic response by proletarians to the totalizing surplus demands of corporate capital.’48 For instance, in northern Nigerian tin mines when trade union activity was increasing during the 1940s, theft continued to serve as means for expanding the strikes. And in certain periods illicit mining replaced union activity



for marginalized workers of Birom communities of the mines from the mid-1950s on. Surveying the shifts in theft in tin mines of northern Nigeria for most of the twentieth century until the 1960s, Freund concludes that tin stealing ‘continues to form the basis of an alternative economy for the Birom (and indeed for much of the Nigerian labour force generally) and, as such reflects the resistance of Nigerian countrymen and -women’ to the market and the colonial rule.49 These works also extend beyond providing a new geography and time period for the linkages between common crimes and political acts. They interpret crime as closely linked to the violence of the state and structural violences of colonial rule. Therein lies the crystallization of state practices in the constitution of criminality. The political character of crime does not only imply the ideological construction and definition of crime. It also suggests that crime and popular violence reflect the structural and institutional violences that are constituted by social, political and economic processes of inequality, marginality and exploitation, maintained and sometimes perpetrated by the state and its institutional– regulatory framework. Moreover, especially in the absence of legitimate political venues, crime constitutes what James Scott terms infrapolitics; acts of crime stem from one’s position in the power structures.50 Fanon’s conception of lumpenproletariat, moreover, pulls together these two aspects: the relation between crime and state violence, and places criminals right at the site of struggle against colonial domination: The lumpenproletariat, once it is constituted, brings all forces to endanger the ‘security’ of the town, and is the sign of an irrevocable decay, the gangrene ever present at the heart of colonial domination. So the pimps, the hooligans, the unemployed, and the petty criminals . . . throw themselves into the struggle like stout working men. These classless idlers will by militant and decisive action discover the path that leads to nationhood . . . The prostitutes too, and the maids who are paid two ponds a month, all who turn in circles between suicide and madness, will recover their balance, once more go forward, and march proudly in the great procession of the awakened nation.51



The very concentration of crime in particular communities and classes of people demands a historical reading of the larger structures of inequality and exploitation, and in particular, of the coercive organs of the state. Both of those – larger structures and the state – in the constitution of crime, in turn, imply the political nature of all crime.

Criminalization, Policing and Neoliberal Regulation of the Urban Poor As I have stated above, the general regulatory frame of capitalist societies in which politics of crime can be deciphered is historically constituted. It is thus necessary to grasp the historically specific configurations of regulatory schemes in order to situate our analysis. This book concentrates on the neoliberal period in Turkey; hence a review of the literature that explores the neoliberal penal practices and regulatory arrangements is in order. To understand the processes of neoliberal politics of crime and new criminalization processes, it is also useful to look at the experiences from different countries. This section will be devoted to this comparative description of the various dimensions of neoliberal penal regulation practices. During the 1970s, the crisis of capitalism disrupted the economies around the globe. In the core capitalist countries, declining profit rates and increasing production costs were exacerbated by the growing economic competition. The Keynesian consensus, which marked the postwar period, was thoroughly undermined by both the profit and the hegemonic crisis of capitalism. While profit rates were declining rapidly, various social movements during the 1960s expressed their dissatisfaction with the so-called consensus. Anti-war, student, feminist, anti-colonial, working class, black liberation and civil rights movements fought against various injustices and demanded the radical transformation of society. Neoliberal political economies and their regulatory regimes were a reaction to these demands and a way to resolve the capitalist crisis of declining profit rates. Neoliberalism instituted a new accumulation and regulatory regime. It transformed the sphere of



economic life through privatization of the governmental services and industries, globalization of production, and reduction of the states’ intervention into the economy especially in its welfare functions. Restructuring of social welfare and opening up various different aspects of life, land and resources to the profit drive were central to this transformation. In the peripheral and semi-peripheral economies, the debt crisis of the 1970s also played an important role in the transformation of their economies. The IMF and World Bank responded and preconditioned loans to the structural adjustment programs, which reorganized the national economies according to a neoliberal logic. This included a strict fiscal policy, the elimination of trade barriers, the privatization of state establishments and functions, and a reduction in social spending, etc. Authoritarian state formation has been instrumental in instituting neoliberal regimes in the peripheral and semi-peripheral countries, such as Turkey. Military coups, as well as authoritarian interventions during the so-called ‘democratic’ periods, have made the alternative demands obsolete; social protests and various actors of resistance were crushed through the violent practices of the states.52 Writing on the case of Mexico, Patricia Martin finds that the transition to neoliberalism has been fostered by different authoritarian practices of the Mexican state.53 Instituting market liberalism rested on both the legal and extra-legal violence of the state against the social protest and the left, ensuring the elimination of resistance against the neoliberal transformations. The writer claims that in Mexico ‘neoliberalism’s rise was not strictly about economic policy, but was a part and parcel of larger search for a politics of order.’54 The institutional and regulatory framework of neoliberal economies reproduces a particular order within which neoliberal profit making can be sustained. Social regulatory framework rests on more security-oriented and penalizing strategies, institutions and practices. Located within this framework, the use of anti-democratic and authoritarian state practices has been central to the constitution of the neoliberal order, not only in Mexico, but also in many other parts of the globe. Authoritarian state formations and practices have



been revived and introduced since the 1970s and 1980s to adopt to the neoliberal accumulation regime. Hence, while neoliberalism proposes ‘less state’ intervention in the sphere of economy, it has also depended on increasing state intervention in the regulation of the society. As Peck and Tickell argue: Only rhetorically does neoliberalism means ‘less state’ in reality, it entails a thoroughgoing reorganization of governmental systems and state – economy relations. Tangentially, and more and more evidently as neoliberalism has been extended and deepened, this program involves the roll out of new state forms, new modes of regulation, new regime of governance, with the aim of consolidating and managing both marketization and its consequences.55 In fact, Andrew Gamble emphasizes rather than ‘less state’, ‘strong’ states characterizes neoliberal era. The states are strengthened to ensure free market economies.56 Hence, many scholars agree that the state is not being erased, but on the contrary it is going through a fundamental restructuring in the neoliberal era. In conceptualizing neoliberalism as an incomplete and conflicting as well as hybrid political economy, Peck and Tickell posit: Neoliberal politicians developed a new repertoire of governmental practices, including privatization, selective ‘deregulation’, contracting out and so forth, the aggregate purpose and cumulative effect of which was not, of course, to roll back the state in general but to roll back (and restructure) a particular kind of state.57 This particular kind of state is one in which penal/security functions are expanded and diversified, while the democratizing welfare institutions are eliminated and social state functions destroyed. While the welfare state has been going through a decline, the changing labour market and post-Fordist work relations have



rendered large segments of the labouring poor precarious in neoliberal economies. As the organized labour has declined, the power of the working classes has been undermined around the world. Removing the barriers on the movement of the capital has reduced the negotiation power of the labour, while capitalists have been given new powers against labour. Growing inequalities and polarization has shaped the conditions of labouring populations. In turn, the growth of the informal sector and a large reserve army of labour have demanded finding new categories for the segments of the working classes which no more constitute a part of formal labour relations. The ‘problem populations’ of the neoliberal era have been described as the ‘underclass’, composed of people who are excluded from productive relations and rendered ‘redundant’ in neoliberal regimes.58 As the social welfare declined, the management and regulation of these populations, furthermore, has been relegated to the penal apparatus of the state.59 Braithwaite explains: New styles of governance are premised upon a recognition of new social forces and mentalities, particularly of the globalizing logic of risk management and they will increasingly reconfigure the social and political fields in ways that have consequences for the policing and control of crime.60 In turn, the neoliberal era is marked by a shift in the prevalence and centrality of the penalization and crime control of the marginalized segments of the urban poor. Expansion of the prisons, establishment of privatized police and prisons, introduction of paramilitary police forces, increased surveillance technologies that are incorporated into the everyday life, multiplication of penal and crime control facilities have been already been subjects of various studies. Particularly, the trajectory of the US penal and policing strategies has produced grand implications; new forms of surveillance, control and punishment are too large to even list here, and the consequences are hardy matched: currently about 2.2 million in the US prisons, 737 people for every 100,000.61



Yet, the US is not alone in the trend of penal/crime control/security expansion. European penal experience and structures, for instance, are also changing. Wacquant, Torny, Cassesse, Van Swaanigen, de Giorgi, and Fassin all scrutinize the recent penal/security policies in European countries, which are increasingly resembling and connecting to the US processes.62 Instead of the ‘black underclass’ who constitute the criminal threat of US, Europeans criminalize the undocumented and racialized migrant populations, most of who come from the former colonies and other peripheral countries.63 Caldeira, del Almo, Wacquant, Zaluar and Ribeiro reflect on the practices of the police, conditions of prisons and changes in penal practices in Latin American countries.64 South Africa’s post-apartheid period introduces new ways of controlling the poor, mostly blacks, and the migrants from neighbouring countries.65 One might suggest that the new penology is a global phenomenon. In fact, there have been several propositions and studies to support this claim. For example, studies of Nagel and Asumah, Sudbury and Martin try to unveil global connections and to establish elements of a global carceral regime.66 Accounts of various geographies emphasize racial and gendered dynamics of the neoliberal penal regimes; criminalization and policing are never homogenous over a particular population, but segment and categorize ‘deviants’, marginalizing Others from the rest of the population. The growing penalization and restructuring of the state, as an institution of force, is a disciplinary ‘social whip’, as Melossi argues.67 At times of economic insecurity, the increasing penal threat and pressure on the lower classes ‘makes everybody work harder, especially those who are close enough to the bottom to hear the howling and moaning of the ones being hit.’68 Thus, criminalization of the surplus populations can also be related to the discipline and ‘level of social performance’. Moreover, incarceration within an expanding archipelago of penal institutions constitutes the site of controlling and reproducing surplus labour. Discipline is achieved though these ‘invisible punishments’; prisons are an intimate part of the lives of the racialized urban poor.69 The penal intervention on the particular segments of urban poor populations in the neoliberal era feeds from an ideological



constitution of criminality of the poor since the 1960s and 1970s. Increasingly, individuals in poverty are found responsible for their conditions, victims of their own choices.70 Criminality, too, is seen as a choice of these populations, who are closely associated with elements of a residue of labouring populations. The culture of poverty thesis that was articulated in this period associated the conditions of the labouring poor with their culture.71 In its racialization of the poor, the ‘underclass’ debate tried to establish the labouring poor as a culturally distinctive group, as a ‘race apart’;72 spatially concentrated in the inner cities and slums. To demonstrate, we can briefly look at Clinard’s views on the ‘slums’ where the poor blacks resided: Although the slum is generally characterized by inadequate housing, deficient facilities, overcrowding and congestion, it involves much more than these elements. Sociologically it is a way of life, a subculture with a set of norms and values, which is reflected in poor sanitation and health practices, deviant behaviors, and characteristic attributes of apathy and social isolation.73 He goes on with is description of the culture of the slum: Life in the slum is usually gregarious and largely centered in the immediate area, where are found friends, shops, and possible credit. There is little privacy, and confusion and noise is seldom abate [. . .] Toughness is often regarded virtuous, and frequent resort to violence to settle disputes is common [. . .] Above all there is a greater tendency to deviant behaviors, a higher rate of delinquency and crime, and ambivalence toward quasi criminal activities committed against the ‘outside world’. Slum dwellers generally display apathy about their conditions, apathy associated with intolerance of conventional ambitions. Often accompanying this sense of apathy there is an attitude of ‘fatalism’ toward life.74 In short, ‘underclass’ is a way to describe destitute populations of the inner cities and slums, ‘terrains of violence and despair’.75



It denotes a cultural composition of a population, which is infested with drugs, teenage pregnancy, unemployment and criminality. In this respect, ‘underclass’ is another construction of ‘undeserving poor’ of the nineteenth century.76 The culture of poverty thesis found its way in the political arena in the US through Reagan’s ‘welfare-queens’, describing women who were out of work, and permanently unemployed, because of their laziness and lack of morals. Thus, they were increasingly contributing to a disorder in the society. In turn, the regulation of racialized poor – surplus populations – was to take another perspective than the protective welfare state. The poor would be managed not through the social state, but through an expanding penal apparatus, and the welfare–workfare system. What drove the expansion of penal and carceral solutions to poverty in the neoliberal era is not just the ideological constitution of criminality as a cultural problem of particular populations. The roots of the expansion of penal/security apparatus in the US, the prime case of neoliberal penal state, also go back to the ‘law and order’ discourses, which made an entrance into the public debates in the 1960s. Nixon introduced the ‘law and order’ paradigm first against civil rights and widespread social justice movements, which employed civil disobedience acts in their protests. He depicted Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the 1960s as criminal mobs to be penalized for their unruliness. The ‘law and order’ discourses articulated the social protest as criminal threats to the society. The anti-war movement relied on various act of violence ‘to bring war home’; the feminist movement brought women to the public sphere with their sexuality unbound; the civil rights movement rested on acts of civil disobedience; and other radical black movements such as Black Panthers gained power, altogether unsettling the so-called Keynesian consensus and exposing the crisis of capitalism. In response to growing political and social unrest, Nixon’s vehement characterization of the civil rights movement as crime provided an apolitical subject for extremely urgent political problems. Political and social unrest of the post 1960s largely found expressions in the criminality of their actors.



‘Law and order’ paradigm was not only employed in the depoliticization and criminalization of the social protest through the reinsertion of police in disciplining and containing the ‘problem populations’. Moreover, since the 1960s, ‘law and order’ has continued to shape the policies and treatment of social disorder, reflecting the ‘tough on crime’ politics in the US. Both conservatives and liberals in the US invested in ‘law and order’, and contributed to the expansion of the penal/security apparatus.77 Furthermore, during the 1980s, the crack epidemic and associated violence in ghettos created a widespread fear. Crime discourses achieved a new height in capturing the popular imagery of the poor racialized population. In turn, the crack epidemic legitimized a ‘war on drugs’ in the US, which has been reinforcing its capacities to fight drug-related offences. The war has also been extended to the other geographies, costing lives and resources, and changing the penal/security regimes in those locales.78 As conditions of the urban poor and working classes deteriorated, their real or imagined association with crime was elaborated as a cultural disposition around the globe. The urban poor was seen as a ‘race apart’; ethno-racially distinguishable segments of the labouring poor have been the target of these racializing discourses. Hall et al. brilliantly show the British media’s extensive engagement in the crimes of black migrants from the former colonies.79 There, mugging incidents informed the racial construction of criminality. Through mugging incidents, the black lumpenproletariat was constituted as a ‘problem population’. Similarly, in the US, the criminalization of ethno-racial minorities through drugs and gang-related violence, especially African American and Latino populations inhabiting the inner city neighbourhoods has been unprecedented.80 Constituting the lowest paid, the most precarious segment of labouring population, the racialized poor were surely involved in petty criminal activities. The crystallization of neoliberal ideology of crime took place in Reagan’s era when urban unrest, as well as growing criminal activities were depicted as an individual’s failure; thus the response was not to intervene through welfare state or social policies but to



bring forward the criminal elements within the poor for implying the undeserving nature of those impoverished. In their criminality they posed a threat, thus they needed to be separated from society by reinforcing the penal capacities of the state.81 The inner city ghettos, where the criminalized populations lived, became an object of aggressive policing, while the rest of the city was securitized through new technologies, more police and cleansing operations. As a result of these developments, the methods and techniques of suppression of dissidence and later on the ‘war on drugs’ and ‘war on crime’ resulted in the expansion of police and its militarization.82 According to Brewer et al., Parenti, and Keith, militarist methods and equipment were first used in the repression of riots and protests.83 In containing the social and political unrest of the 1960s, the police was reorganized with the increasing ideological power of ‘law and order’ against the ‘disorderly populations’ and ‘criminals’ that threaten the lives of innocent people. Parenti vividly locates the starting point of the transformation of policing in the effort to contain radicalized civil rights movement and anti-capitalist struggles.84 The police was already using violence against its dissidence, as the US government as a whole was waging war both inside and outside. The growing number of arrests, murders, raids, as well as resorting to ‘framing of activists’ and ‘buying provocateurs’ did not slow down the movements. From the late 1960s onwards the political repression would be accelerated through Johnson’s ‘war on drugs’. The legal and penal mechanisms were revised to permit a more intense and effective policing. The formation of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration made sure to increase the budget for weapons, high-tech equipment, computers, police choppers, forensic labs, DNA banks, helicopters, ‘basic infrastructure of car radios, high-tech dispatch systems, and mobile command and control centers’,85 special training and legal support and so on for the police forces. Some of the new tactics were those already tried during the Vietnam War. Electronic maps, for instance, were relocated into the US as a part of the effort on its ‘war on crime’. One of the most important developments in the militarization of the police was the formation of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams in 1966 that combined military strategies and new technologies in policing.



The urban riots that arose in the inner cities and slums of neoliberal countries too were indicative of the process of criminalization of the racialized urban poor. The response to the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles in 1992, the immigrant riots in Paris banlieus in 2005, or the Bristol riots in 1980 in London’s impoverished West Indian neighbourhoods grew out of the social and economic conditions of the urban poor and the insecurities and violences they faced in the urban settings.86 The riots all took place in poor and racialized neighbourhoods and were a response to police brutality and violence. In the case of south LA for example, it was the videotape footage of the beating of Rodney King – a black man from the area – by eight white police officers, which went unpunished by the courts that started the riots. In Paris, it was the electrocution of two Magrebian youths trying to run away from police in a power substation in Clichy-sous-Bois that incited serious uprisings. The immigrants from the former French colonies were responding not only to these particular events, but also to persistent poverty and exclusion. So were the rioters in Bristol; this time it was not North African but Caribbean immigrants, consistent with colonial histories. The riots were a collective response to the structural violences that the racialized populations in neoliberal societies had been experiencing. Unemployment, lack of opportunities, declining welfare institutions, and lack of organized politics to express the insecurities and injustices in the lives of rioters were the source of the urban unrests. Tony Bunyan, writing straight after the 1981 riots in the ghettos of British cities suggests that what sparked the riots was the new political economy, which reduced employment opportunities for the unskilled labour force, while relying on authoritarian mechanisms of control. He claimed that Britain was experiencing a transition from ‘liberal democracy’ to ‘authoritarian democracy’.87 Even though these riots were reactions to the conditions and insecurities of racialized poor populations contained in shantytowns, banlieus or ghettos, and were subjected to use of disproportionate police force, they were all reduced to being interpreted as criminal acts by the media and the state authorities alike. The riots were



simply ‘meaningless violence’ and ‘violence of the mob’ according to the authorities. George Bush characterized the LA rioters as ‘unsuccessful individuals’, and for Sarkozy (France’s internal minister at the time) the immigrant youths involved in riots were ‘street gangs’ and ‘mob(s)’. Talking of the US case, Body-Gendrot posits that the ideas about urban violence detached the violence from its societal roots by the use of the word crime: ‘Crime externalizes the issue; it connects it to dangerous classes on specific places which are not part of “us”.’88 The riots in the ghettos and inner cities in the Western countries have reinforced the idea that an explosive population inhabits these spaces.89 As a result of these developments, a trend towards a greater repressive, arbitrary, racist police practices and operations took shape.90 Flamm, for instance, describes the confrontation between the NYPD and the Harlem community in 1964, which erupted as a result of the murder of a young black boy by a police officer, as one of those moments that revised the politics of policing towards more aggressive strategies.91 In the US, extensive powers given to the police, combined with the government’s political choices to fight with crime, created an environment of insecurity for not only Blacks, but also for Latinos and other minorities, who are associated with crime. Parenti describes: If there is a parable to be drawn from the story of paramilitary policing in the US, it is that the political theatrics of terror are by no means dead. Physical terror and spectacular displays of violence are still central to the state’s control of the dangerous classes. The helicopters, guns, and constantly barking dogs of the American tactical army are blunt semaphore to the lumpen classes and working poor.92 Moreover, as neoliberal cities have been revalued through global finance, criminality and crime started to constitute a problem to the safety of the rising new sectors of service and finance. The ‘cleaning’ of the cities through the expansion of policing (especially through quality-of-life policing, and zero-tolerance policing) that



criminalized minor offenses has been an important part of making them attractive, and free from disturbances of the various shapes of poverty. Giuliani’s zero-tolerance policies that aimed at eliminating crime and cleansing the city form criminals and the ‘undesirables’ were closely linked to this new political economy of New York.93 Securitization, through cleansing and segregating the city from its criminalized poor, would increase the attractiveness of the city for its new middle classes. Gentrification policies, moreover, went hand in hand with criminalization as a way to legitimize the cleaning of neighbourhoods from criminal elements: the poor residents of these areas.94 In many large cities, the construction of fear and danger has produced new security and surveillance practices, and new spatial and architectural solutions to crime. As Herbert and Brown put it, ‘spaces are increasingly subject to a variety of regulatory mechanisms that work to separate the desired from the undesired; social divisions are mirrored in spatial ones.’95 Police organizations operate spatial technologies to have a stronger grasp over cities.96 While the poor are concentrated in the increasingly insecure environments, wealthier groups hide behind the secured gated communities, apartment complexes unreachable to the dangers of the city and the ‘dangerous classes’. It is not simply the state that expands its penal/security functions. In fact, according to Garland, this has been a quite contradictory and limited process.97 While crime control has become a substantive area of intervention, other actors, such as community, private companies and individuals have been incorporated into the policing, surveillance, securitization and incarceration operations.98 The new security practices – of both state and non-state actors – target the urban poor, especially ethno-racial minorities. As a result of these transformations, the racially disproportionate prison populations have grown rapidly. In the US, criminalized and racialized populations are then managed within a growing number of prison facilities, and the number of prisoners has grown rapidly.99 However, the link between the prison boom and growth in prison populations has not been the rise in crime. Western locates the politics of crime and punishment, such as ‘war on drugs’ and ‘law and



order’ paradigms as responsible in the growth of imprisonment rates.100 Making of punitive laws, victims’ rights paradigm, mandatory minimums alongside a zero-tolerance and aggressive policing of surplus populations have ensured the penal regulation of the urban poor in the US.101 In reading these trends, Wacquant examines the prison and the criminal justice system in the US as ‘an instrument for the management of dispossessed and dishonored groups’, especially of lower class African-Americans.102 He locates prisons as the latest institution along with hyperghetto for ‘defining, confining and controlling’ disposessed African Americans. Not unlike Slavery, Jim Crow system, and the Ghetto, prisons in the neoliberal era have been employed to ‘recruit, organize and extract labour out of African Americans, on the one hand; and to demarcate and ultimately seclude them, on the other’.103 Prisons are one of the four ‘peculiar institutions’ of the US history that define and confine African Americans. Following slavery, Jim Crow system and the Ghetto -other ‘peculiar institutions’, prisons operate in ‘keeping (unskilled) African Americans “in their place”, i.e. in a subordinate and confined position in physical, social and symbolic space.’104 However, new politics of crime that rests on increasing prevalence of penal regimes and aggressive policing of common crimes affects other minorities as well. Latinos, undocumented migrants, and Native Americans are relegated to penal institutions, while experiencing growing inequalities and economic insecurities of the neoliberal political economies.105 In Europe, surplus labour is composed of racialized former colonial subjects, who constitute both the cheap and controllable labour pool, and the ‘criminal populations’. Already disadvantaged in the competition with native European workers, the ‘non-citizen’ and ‘undocumented’ status puts immigrants into a precarious place in the labour market. For a long time, immigrants in Europe: maintained a mobile fluctuating labour force, which can be moved from factory to factory or branch to branch as required by the development of the means of production, and which can



be thrown out of work and deported as required without causing social tensions.106 Today, constituted as the lumpenproletariat, and excluded from the labour processes, the young migrant generations started to cause social tensions. Their ‘disruptions’, in turn, have legitimized the criminalization of the former colonial subjects, increasingly as the need for a reserve army declines and factory work demises. Police, courts and prisons are increasingly dealing with the migrant youth in Europe, while border security against new ‘intruders’ is reinforced.107 Similarly, in Brazil, where a political culture produced by long lasting authoritarianism allows more repressive interventions, agencies of the criminal justice system operate more nefariously in the criminalized favelas. This growing reliance on the repressive apparatus of the Brazilian state signals the permeation of authoritarian models there. For Wacquant the practices of the Brazilian state can be depicted as a ‘dictatorship over the poor’ instituted to accommodate the dislocations and disorder caused by ‘the deregulation of the economy, desocialization of wage labour and the relative and absolute immiserization of large sections of the urban proletariat by enlarging the means, scope and intensity of the intervention of the police and the judicial apparatus.’108 The increasing social polarization has been reinforced and redefined by the process of globalization, while its offspring, violent urban crime, produces the legitimacy of police repression and intervention as well as urban segregation.109 Already prevailing ‘tradition of control’ in Brazil furthers this repression to omnipresent violence. The delinquents are eliminated either through the military and police operations on the favelas, or within the prisons they are incarcerated, as in the case of Carandiru prison massacre in 1992.110 In South Africa, the Black poor, previously controlled by the apartheid regime, are now relegated to the penal and security apparatus. Increasing presence of private security firms in South Africa, even originating from the US, shows that there are profit opportunities in the criminalizing and control of the urban poor globally.111 In the US, the phenomenon of prison-industrial-complex has been elaborated by



many different studies, but the profit-led practices elsewhere are left largely unexamined.112 The case of South Africa suggests that there is more. In short, the increasingly aggressive wars on crime that are taking place in various geographies correspond to the restructuring of the state in the neoliberal era. Reducing its fiscal and social spending, the neoliberal state is empowered by ‘neoliberal penalty invented to entrench the new regime of deregulated employment.’113 The neoliberal state promises security to its ‘desired’ and ‘respectable’ classes in ‘cleansed’ environments. In turn, crime and fear of crime play an important role in social reproduction in providing the ideological power for the penal/security responses as well as for the revision of the state institutions to maintain a new social order. These transformations, as Coleman suggests, imply a ‘more substantive social ordering project’ in the neoliberal era.114 Crime not only allows the state a legitimate role in intervening in poverty, but also provides an apolitical form of regulation of the political questions of inequality, injustice, and violence, etc. Neoliberal politics of crime, as constituted by ideologies of crime and reorganized criminal justice institutions of the state, rest on the criminalization, penalization and policing of the ‘problem populations’: increasingly ethno-racially distinguished labouring populations, dispossessed by the economic policies, and politically marginalized by authoritarian state practices. The new politics of crime and criminalization of the urban poor in Turkey, the subject of this book, is located within the same trajectory of the neoliberal ‘social ordering project’ that is taking place in different parts of the world discussed in this chapter.


Introduction Criminalization is both an ideological and a material process. This chapter focuses on the former. It examines the discourses and ideologies about urban crime in contemporary Turkey. The concepts of discourse and ideology are used together in this study for they represent different aspects of the world of ideas, signs and meanings. Hunt and Pervis distinguish the concepts, while proposing that they supplement each other: The concept ‘ideology’ typically figures in inquiries that are concerned to identify the way in which forms of consciousness condition the way in which people [. . .] become conscious of their conflicting interests and struggle over them. Ideology thus implies the existence of some link between ‘interests’ and ‘forms of consciousness’ . . . Discourse, on the other hand, focuses attention on the terms of engagement within social relations by insisting that all social relations are lived and comprehended by their participants in terms of specific linguistic or semiotic vehicles that organize their thinking, understanding and experiencing. The concept of ‘discourse’ remains self-consciously neutral or sceptical about whether discourse as a form of existence is connected with



elements, such as are invoked by notions of interest, that are external to the discursive content of lived experience.1 Ideology is about the production of consciousness that mystifies the subordination relations and thus reproduces those relations within a class society. While different classes may struggle within the ideological sphere, dominant classes have an upper hand in the production of dominant ideologies that shape the policies and practices of the state. Discourse, on the other hand, is inherent in language and communication. It is central to all social relations and social subjects, with or without ideological effects. In this sense, we can treat ‘discourse as process and ideology as effect.’2 Following this, the chapter tries to capture the ideological effects through the examination of the discourses of crime. A variety of actors contribute to the production of crime discourses. Media, professionals of crime (police, criminologists, parole officers, judges, etc.), politicians, as well as ordinary people consistently become a part of crime talk and knowledge. Well-suited to orchestrating the discourses and shaping ideologies, the media constitutes the central source of this chapter. The media constructs widespread representations of crime; they produce criminological opinions and develop public attitudes about crime. Hence, they are an indispensible part of the construction of popular discourses and powerful ideologies of crime.3 As Hall et al. explains: The media do not simply and transparently report events which are ‘naturally’ newsworthy in themselves. ‘News’ is the endproduct of a complex process which begins with a systematic sorting and selecting of events and topics according to a socially constructed set of categories.4 Accordingly, news about crime and criminals does not just objectively describe what has happened, but coordinates an opinion about criminality, criminals and their anti-social behaviours. Alongside scrutinizing the role of the media, this chapter also relies on the discursive interventions of professionals of crime,



especially that of police and criminologists. This can be useful in two ways: the police with their claims of specialization and the criminologist with their claims to scientificity both constitute an authority on the subject of crime. They give popular discourses further substance and ideological force. The police’s place in the production of knowledges on crime is inherent to the profession. Criminology, in turn, is not simply a science of the ills of society but ‘an administrative task’ as David Garland suggests with ‘pragmatic, policy oriented, administrative projects, seeking to use science in the service of management and control.’5 Writing about nineteenth-century Argentina, Salvatore locates criminological rhetoric as an important cultural activity of statemaking in the ‘key areas of state intervention such as health, education, welfare, and penal policy – areas in which state structures, practices, and rhetoric were crucial for the constitution of political and social subjects.’6 Criminology helps define boundaries of citizenship, operates as an ideological source and provides support for the operations and administrative functions of the state. It claims to be a scientific study of crime and of criminals that seeks theoretical explanations of causes, yet through crime it imagines a whole terrain of legal, medical, psychosocial, familial, economic and political life, and orders them.7 In examining the crime discourses of the media, police, and criminologists, this chapter tries to locate the shifting perspectives about crime and criminals in Turkey since the 1960s and describes a recent moral panic that shapes the neoliberal ideology of crime going back the late 1990s. As I will show, this moral panic about urban crime reveals a process of criminalization of the migrant and labouring poor populations, marked both ethno-racially and spatially. Criminalizing discourses not only derive from rising crime rates, but from the new insecurities of cities, arising from the shifting demography, and the political and economic transformations. In this sense, the chapter concentrates on the ideological aspects of a new politics of crime shaping in neoliberal urban settings. Neoliberal ideologies of crime increasingly emphasize the victimization from a violent crime wave, and argue for penal action against criminals, corresponding with particular segments of the urban poor.



Kapkac and Moral Panic in Urban Turkey On 13 December 1998, a young woman, Esen Ko¨ktu¨rk, was nearly killed by a Mercedes-Benz as she was waiting for a bus on O-1 Highway to go to her university campus. According to a witness, the car slowly drew alongside the bus stop as one of the passengers reached out of the window to take the black purse Esen Ko¨ktu¨rk was carrying. The Mercedes moved away ‘mercilessly’ when she refused to let the purse go, sweeping her along the car about 20 meters and injuring her seriously.8 Another woman, Aysel Tabak, fell from a commuter train and died as she was running after her muggers. These particular cases were not the first or the most well known kapkac incidences. Yet, they were typical of what was to be specified as kapkac. In the years leading up to 1998, there had been various instances when kapkac as a word was used, albeit rather unqualifiedly, in mainstream newspapers. It was interchangeable with other forms of street theft such as pick pocketing, theft, snatching, etc. In fact, kapkac means stealing by snatching; mugging can also fulfil its meaning. Muggers mostly used motor vehicles, a distance from the victim, and this posed a high risk of violence. According to a statement by a psychiatrist, the trauma that kapkac victims experience was akin to that resulting from natural disasters.9 Victims of kapkac were mostly vulnerable subjects: women and old people.10 In some cases, the news stories of kapkac included the life story of the victim, showing their innocence, respectability and normalcy, while implying the inhumaneness and cruelty of the perpetrators. Muggers worked in teams of at least two persons – one to mug and the other to drive or ride – and thus were defined as ‘street gangs’, according to the media. The ‘kapkac gangs’ were composed of ‘crime machines’ and ‘city bandits’ and directed by ‘kapkac ag˘as’.11 Newspapers detailed the private lives of ‘psychopathic leaders’ of the gangs. In their public lives, they kidnapped poor kids to force them into criminal lives.12 Muggers, in turn, were depicted as inherently ‘dangerous’, and when they got intoxicated with glue and other chemicals they became even more ‘vicious’ and ‘courageous’.



While reporting the Ko¨ktu¨rk incident, Hu¨rriyet, one of the popular mainstream newspapers in Turkey, put forward the following characteristics of this new strain of crime: Kapkac gangs target those waiting on bus stops or the streets during hours of going to and from work. They ambush close to shopping centres, sometimes follow their victims. They usually drive stolen cars. Some drive luxury automobiles in order not to attract attention. They treat resisting victims mercilessly. Lately, their activities have moved to Avcılar, Ku¨ c u¨ kc ekmece and Bu¨ yu¨ kc ekmece. Generally, they prefer areas under gendarme jurisdiction where the control is weak.13 Another popular newspaper, Sabah, informed its readers about different kinds of kapkac according to information they gathered from the police: There are seven kinds of kapkac , which is turning people’s life into a nightmare. It is possible to categorize these as kapkac by following in front of banks and exchange offices, kapkac by following of women to their home, kapkac by faking an accident, kapkac by breaking the car window of an unaccompanied women driver, kapkac with a car, kapkac with a motorcycle and pedestrian kapkac .14 Kapkac news became a focus of media headlines. Horror stories about kapkac with an automobile, from a moving commuter train, or with a motorcycle, were widely reproduced, especially after 1999, peaking in the 2000s. With the rise in the number of kapkac incidents, the rhetoric on it has become stronger and harsher: the society was faced with a ‘kapkac nightmare’, ‘horror wagons’, and ‘kapkac terror’.15 Such language served to foster reactionary public sensibilities and created a moral panic about kapkac . Stanley Cohen explains the concept in Folk Devils and Moral Panics:16



Societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to the periods of moral panic. A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests; its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media; the moral barricades are manned by editors, bishops, politicians and other rightthinking people; socially accredited experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or (more often) resorted to; the conditions the disappears, submerges or deteriorates and becomes more visible. Sometimes the object of panic is quite novel and at other times it is something which has been in existence long enough, but suddenly appears in the limelight. Sometimes panic is passed over and is forgotten, except in folklore and collective memory; at other times it has a more serious and long lasting repercussions and might produce such changes as those in legal and social policy or even the way society conceives itself.17 The media’s preoccupation with kapkac was central to the articulation of a moral panic about crime in Turkey’s large metropolises. Kapkac served to depict a new strain of crime, yet it was a part of the urban crime wave. It signalled the existence of a kind of danger which was very unprecedented – unfamiliar and strangely violent incidents in the big cities of Turkey. The new danger, as many news stories and crime discourses argued, was closely associated with poor migrants. The Kurds in particular were blamed for the rise of crime, as will be elaborated later on. Kurdish migration and poverty had a significant impact in the constitution of criminality due to their association with ‘terror’, and kapkac enacted many symbolic elements of fear against this population. This is why various academic works were devoted to the study of kapkac and, unlike any other crime, kapkac became a concern of national security.18 In one of the periodic national security meetings of the government at MGK (the National Security Council), military officials raised their concerns about kapkac and the growing crime rates. According to the news, possible methods to prevent migration were tackled in the meeting.19



Even though kapkac had a particular public life in indicating a new form of crime in changing metropolises of Turkey, it continued to denote other forms of street crime like pick pocketing and theft. As a word, kapkac could reiterate a much greater impact by replacing the labels for similar crimes and grouping them all under the same label. In police sources too, this transposition was in place. A study published by the General Directorate of Security on kapkac incidences can exemplify this.20 In the analysis of kapkac cases, the term kapkac was used interchangeably with pick pocketing. Only by relying on sample cases was kapkac distinguished. A section is devoted to scenarios of kapkac: kapkac with mobilette, pedestrian kapkac , kapkac with motorcycle, kapkac with bicycle, kapkac with automobile, and last but not least kapkac by fooling have all been demonstrated with cases based on real events. It was clear that kapkac was pick pocketing with new means. The study explained kapkac in the following manner: As the victim takes the cell phone out to check the time, a mugger seizes the phone . . . As the victim walks in the street, some person walking behind and takes the purse hanging on the shoulder of the victim and quickly leaves the crime scene . . . While sitting in a jewellery shop, the victim leaves the purse on the next chair. A little and an older girl enter into the shop and taking the bag they run away . . . As a victim walks from work, a convict approaches with an excuse to meet. When the victim refuses, the convict holds the victim’s arms and takes two golden bracelets from the victim.21 Such a flexible use of the label has played an important role in increasing the effect of street crimes. By transferring the violence that was associated with kapkac to other forms of crime, and by reporting all street theft as kapkac, a gregarious panic about crime was successfully fabricated on a daily basis. The use of this new word for all kinds of common street crime created larger effects with its implications about danger and violence.



Many journalists, representing the views of the urban middle classes, have explicated the feeling of insecurity they were faced with even in their protected houses. For them, too, kapkac represented a new crime wave. The hysteria they were a part of can be read in their articles. For instance, Fatih Altaylı, depicting the crime-infested city and fearful lives of urbanites, wrote: ‘Do you realize Istanbul is becoming intolerable! Streets are controlled by muggers (kapkaccı) and the pavements by mock-car-parkers (deg˘nekci). The glue-sniffers (tinerci) are the sovereigns of back streets.’22 Another journalist complained about the frustrations of living in a big city: Thieves go even into the bedrooms; people get robbed in front of their homes; people cannot get out in their neighbourhoods; people are mugged in the bus, subway, train. As if Istanbul has become the New York of the 1960s. Harlems are established in the midst of the city. What happened to us?23 And a news story warned that soon ‘it would be impossible to live in the big cities and go out in the street.’24 The fear and panic about crime was harboured by the TNP when it introduced its new statistics on crime. In fact, in the past, crime statistics in Turkey had rarely been a part of public debate. Crime rates were assumed to remain stable over the years, and thus crime was seen as an insignificant problem. The criminal statistics that were made available were comparably low. Yet, contemporary common experience was at odds with the low levels of crime argument, conflicting with both personal stories of victimization and the media’s frenzy about urban crime. The low levels of crime were in fact also related to a police strategy of recording only the important crimes. It was a strategy emanating from the level of police stations, where initial data was collected. As a station chief’s personal record depended on his district’s success, meaning low crime rates in his district, he was better off not recording most of the insignificant incidents. In the black ‘crime books’ of the police station, the normal practice was to record only important events: thefts of items of considerable value and insistent



complaints.25 High crime levels would imply an inability and failure to prevent crime on the part of the police; they were ‘hidden’ in Turkey, as noted by some police sources, in order to conceal this ‘failure’.26 For sure, this recording practice was not only about the reputation of station chiefs. The practice of under-reporting minor crimes was also a way of controlling the workflow for the officers. The amount of work they would have to do for each case mostly did not bring any result, only a lot of ‘headache’.27 So, they resisted work through ignoring the cases. The disinterest in recording crime was an informal but widespread practice – well known but overlooked by the police management – that aimed to reduce their workload, as well as to hide crime levels. However, this scheme was not sustainable, as it conflicted with the media’s depiction of an urban crime wave. In response to growing media discourses and news about urban crime, the EGM started to publicize its official crime statistics in 2005.28 These statistics included monthly variations in public order crimes, which included offenses against property, persons and order. They informed the public especially about the rise in street crimes such as theft, mugging, assault, and so on.29 Statistics of the EGM operated to mediate and confirm the discourses of crime, which had long been in circulation in the popular media. The figures were quite outstanding and newspapers carried the news of crime statistics on their front pages and alarmed the public through their headlines: ‘Crime has risen 80 per cent’, ‘Crime is out of control’, ‘Istanbul: crime heaven’, ‘Uncanny rise in crime’, etc.30 Journalists wrote extensively about the new statistics as they gave a new opportunity to dwell on the urban crime wave.31 However, according to a recent article written by police academics Bahar and Fert, the claims of an explosion in crime rates are far from true.32 First, the authors argue that the comparative data used in press releases is misleading. Starting from 2004, there have been changes in data recording methods of the TNP. Various offences, which were not included in crime statistics (for instance, wounding/ beating, insulting, and swearing, fights between people, domestic violence etc.), were incorporated into a new classification system.



Moreover, prior to 2004, the data was very rudimentary and left many offences unrecorded. Bahar and Fert argue that the rise on crimes against property in 2004, 2005 and 2006 is, in fact, a result of the changes in the collection methodology, and it is highly debatable whether there is a rise in crime or not.33 The TNP’s use of crime statistics as a public discourse is relatively recent, but it is far from being novel. Statistics and numbers have long been integral to the criminological discourses of the state institutions, despite their inherent inaccuracy. Statistics can only be representative and cannot describe the real figures of crime. The claims they make about crime are filtered through the institutions of criminal justice and are thus politically manipulated. Nonetheless, crime figures possess a power, especially within the sphere of governance. For instance, when the concerns of urban unrest and disorder grew in nineteenth-century Europe, statistics served to categorize populations. The figures defined a group of ‘criminal offenders [who] were gradually separated from the poor and labelled separately.’34 Their governance, in turn, could be defined accordingly. The modern police, too, seized this opportunity in order to boost their power and to prove their ‘effectiveness’.35 The effect of statistics in orchestrating public opinion and ‘raising awareness’ about crime reached new levels in the neoliberal era. Writing on South Africa, Jean and John Comaroff designated this new trend as ‘the rising sovereignty of crime statistics’. Even though criminal statistics are mostly known to be incorrect they still serve as an important source for thinking about crime. As Comaroffs argue, ‘official statistics are a fact-making fiction.’36 The statistics released by the EGM in Turkey should be understood as a strategy that legitimized police intervention in the growing crime discourses. Resting on the ‘sovereign’ and ‘scientific’ value of statistics, and claims to truth through numbers, statistics proved effective in attracting the public’s attention and clarifying the panic about crime.37 The next section will focus on the populations who are the objects of the crime panic, and locate historical shifts in the construction of these populations.



Constructing Dangerous Populations Who are the sources of criminality and danger in the cities, according to the growing crime discourses in Turkey? Since the 1960s, migrants have occupied a particular place in mainstream crime discourses and criminological studies focused on detecting and isolating the problems in a changing Turkey. Yet, it was not until the 1990s that racially and spatially marked migrants were constructed as ‘dangerous populations’. This section provides a reading of criminological texts as well as other discourses of crime in order to examine the process of criminalization of the migrants, who constitute the large part of the labouring poor populations in urban Turkey. Three periods can be distinguished in this process; from the 1960s to the 1980s, migrants have been constituted as the antimodern members of urban life, and also as a part of the ‘general criminality’ of the political upheavals in the period. During the 1980s, their long-term engagement in illegal appropriation of the land placed them in the sphere of illegality. Their activities in the informal real estate market were deemed illegitimate in the face of the rising land prices of the era. As large cities and urban spaces were being transformed into significant profit sources in the neoliberal economies, the informal housing and land relations became the focus of criminalizing discourses. The story of the full-scale criminalization of migrants took shape starting from the late 1990s onwards. A racialized depiction of the criminality of migrants corresponded to the changing migration patterns, transformation of urban economies, and growing urban poverty. The main subjects of criminality in the crime discourses at this time were the urban poor, particularly Kurdish migrants. Proletarianization and urbanization; migrants and shantytowns, 1960s– 1990s Following the military coup in 1970 against political dissidents and the working class movements of the 1960s, Istanbul University Institute of Criminology organized a conference aimed to address the need for reform of the criminal justice system. Prominent legal



scholars, sociologists and policy makers attended the conference. During the proceedings, one of the most urgent issues addressed was the transformation of the urban areas in relation to the problem of crime. This urgency emanated from the relationship between urbanization and proletarianization, and the political movements that started to develop in the cities.38 Initially, the criminologists’ intention was to apply the Chicago School’s framework and methods in understanding the developments in urban Turkey. A very small but highly praised study of Eregli, an industrializing town, sought to find a correlation between industrial urbanization and crime following the Chicago School’s findings, but it failed.39 The shantytowns and slums in the big metropolises, however, proved to be a more interesting field where Turkish criminologists could investigate the relationship between urbanization and crime. These places were characterized by an ‘accumulation of population, that is congestion, informal relations, lack of informal regulation mechanisms,’ thus highly productive of crime.40 At that time, it was not the common crimes that necessarily attracted the attention of criminologists, but rather the potentiality of criminality of the new migrants especially in the wake of social and political upheavals. One speaker in the conference posited: ‘The shantytowns which can for sure be referred as the “urbanizing” areas of Turkish cities have a very clean criminal record. But this should not mean that the situation will remain this way in the future’.41 Cultural degeneration, the condition of familial and kinship ties, the assimilation processes, and ‘foremen syndrome’,42 feelings of envy of the migrant as well as the culture of the shantytown environment in which the migrants live, were all directly linked to the sources of future potential or real urban crime, as well as the political unrest of which migrant workers were a part. The police sources also had a similar take about the criminality of migrants. Relying on the words of a governor, they located the problem of security exactly within the shantytowns: The huge migration headed for Istanbul is in fact the origin of all the problems in Istanbul. A big percentage of the people



migrating from rural Anatolia are gathering in the areas defined as shantytowns, which are expanding like cancer cells. It is observed that 80 per cent of the migrants get settled in these shantytown areas. The big migration, the rapidly expanding population and the economic crises result in the great army of unemployed people in our city . . . The biggest worker army is in Istanbul.43 When migrants arrived in the cities for work, their central problem was housing, which became an important site of political struggle. Various leftist organizations involved in these struggles demanded not only the right to shelter, but engaged in illegal appropriation of government land in the peripheries of the city and constructed shanties with the newly arrived migrants. The involvement of political groups in the construction of the shanties and their collective fight for control over the space had established the shantytowns as places of confrontation with the state authorities, especially with gendarmes as most shantytowns were being established in the areas under gendarme jurisdiction.44 For instance, Aslan, writing on the history of 1 Mayıs Mahallesi (May Day Neighbourhood), explains how the revolutionary struggles were inherent to the establishment of the neighbourhood.45 The neighbourhood operated as a ‘saved’ space, and democratically administered by the residents and political groups through the 1970s. In turn, the neighbourhood was occupied by the police and gendarme in 1977 in order to demolish it. The resisting neighbourhood residents were met with disproportionate state violence: 12 people were killed during the protests. As the actors of resistance, the shantytown dwellers had the ability to contest the authority of the state. In that, they were conceived as potential actors of criminality. The political dissidence migrants were involved in was regarded to be predictive of other forms criminality as it would breed a culture of criminality, or disobeying authority. An audience member at the conference claimed: ‘The crimes against property, against persons or hiding



criminals may precipitate ideological crimes’.46 Rural immigrants in their association with common crime would be more prone to ideological crimes rampant during the period. This was clearly a ¨ zek, a cultural issue, not really a political one. According to C¸etin O criminologist: In a changing society, a change in culture results in cultural conflict, collusions, indiscipline, and tolerance towards illegal behaviour. The deviance from norms is not conceived of as a problem but is encouraged to the extent that punishment of such behaviour is seen illegitimate.47 The inner city areas were especially important because it is where these tendencies were most proven to materialize, as these were ‘criminal areas, where urban crime is concentrated, organized crime is located, criminals hide, and from which the criminality is distributed to the centres of the city.’48 Inner cities were composed of ‘room rentals, sedimentation, trash, dirt.’ The physical deterioration, in turn, harboured ‘social indiscipline’: ‘The disproportionate population accumulation is composed of the unemployed, the unskilled, the prostitutes, the rootless, shortly, of people who are not with societal discipline’ and the slum neighbourhoods were depicted as ‘places of hidden gambling houses, prostitution houses, distribution of recreational drugs and organized gangs’.49 They offered spaces of illegality and facilitated the flux of people, who were potentially also involved in criminal activity. The conflation of the shantytowns with crime had not been started, but their contribution to the ‘demographical disorder’50 depicting a disproportionate development of and migration towards a few cities was clear. This, in turn, produced a number of problems in the economic and social organization of the cities. The insufficiency of services, lack of city planning and organization, lack of investment, and unemployment all affected the cities criminal landscape. The last element was awarded centrality in accounting for the rise in economic crimes, as well as, the development of possibilities of ‘survival through illegality’.51



Thus, when the criminologists of the 1970s talked about crime and its relation to shantytowns, they were in essence thinking about various activities of survival, yet labelling them as ‘ideological trappings’ or the ‘exploitation’ of left-wing groups. The political character of the migrants as politically conscious working classes were dismissed in such claims. The political actions were simply reduced to criminality in many cases. It was two things at the same time: divorcing the political content of common crimes, while criminalizing the political acts. The criminological ideologies of the period have successfully reshaped the meaning of crime. These discourses indicate that the criminalization of the migrants and their shantytowns was taking shape during the 1960s and 1970s. However, this was not separable from the political climate of the period. During the 1980s, the focus shifted from the political activities and potential criminality of the migrants to the illegal and ‘unjust’ appropriation of land. Migrants were seen as peasants, who illegally occupied and lived on valuable and beautiful state land. While the middle classes had to fiercely compete for housing as the real estate values were rising, especially but not exclusively in Istanbul, the shantytown dwellers had started to even acquire rent and profit from the lands and homes. Tok argues that the new accumulation schemes over the urban space transformed gecekondus into ‘new state spaces’ during the 1980s, demanding new regulatory interventions to accommodate the new accumulation processes.52 The ideas that surrounded shantytowns and shantytown dwellers started to shift radically, from poor, ‘innocent peasants’ (with also its demeaning connotations) to ones who are cunning and selfinterested. As informal housing created its own economy through the illegally acquired land, migrants were by definition criminal as they occupied land illegally. Thus, a new form of criminality and stigmatization was in the making for migrants in the big cities. Moreover, they disturbed city life with their ‘maladjusted’ and ‘discordant’ presence, as was also visible in the ‘crookedness’53 of the shantytowns in which they lived.54



From gecekondu to varos¸; from working classes to ‘dangerous populations’ Full-scale criminalization of the spatially and racially marked migrants, their association with dangerousness and criminality took place later, during the 1990s. The root cause of this criminalization was not exactly the rise of crime as depicted by various crime ideologies, but political upheavals arising from the shanties of the urban poor. Two important events crystallized the ideologies that were central in the criminalization of the labouring poor and migrant shantytowns: the Gazi events of 1995 and the following May Day, 1996. In 1995, a series of gunshots coming from an unidentified car hit a coffeehouse in the Gazi district of Istanbul and killed an Alevi man. The Gazi district, like other Alevi neighbourhoods, is a highly politicized area due to the history of discrimination against and repression of Alevis in Turkey.55 In this sense, the shootings were racist acts towards Alevis as a whole; thus the residents of Gazi district started demonstrations against the violence and insecurity in which they were living. Soon, the Special Forces police arrived and opened fired on the demonstrators, killing 17 people, wounding hundreds, and arresting many others.56 The streets of Gazi turned into a war zone between its residents and the police. The following May Day of 1996 further clarified the ‘danger’ arising from the shantytowns. In Kadıko¨y district of Istanbul, the demonstrators, mostly from shantytowns, broke windows, damaged the streets and fought the police. It became clear to the mainstream media that this was an ‘explosion of slums’. The May Day events in Turkey were reflection of ‘varos¸es descending unto the city’ as one newspaper warned. The rest of the article read: ‘Stoning, looting, pleasure: Youth, workers, public officers from Istanbul’s shantytowns have furiously broken down the display cases of shops full of things they would never be able to afford, while they were stoning the police’.57 The use of varos¸ label instead of gecekondu is key here. It is these events that firmly established the term varos¸ and its distinct residents in the popular imaginary. For many, the label of varos¸ implied a degenerate, crime-ridden, unruly place contrasting with the



law-abiding, civilized, orderly city. In this sense, varos¸ is synonymous with the ghetto, banlieu, favela, etc. As Wacquant posits: It is these districts draped in a sulfurous aura, where social problems gather and fester, and the urban outcasts of the turn of the century reside, which earns them the disproportionate and disproportionately negative attention of the media, politicians and state managers. They are known to outsiders and insiders alike, as the ‘lawless zones’, the ‘problem estates’, the ‘no-go areas’ or the ‘wild districts’ of the city, territories of deprivation and dereliction to be feared, fled from and shunned because they are – or such is their reputation, but in these matters perception contributes powerfully to fabricating reality – hotbeds of violence, vice and social dissolution.58 Varos¸ denoted a problem zone quite different from the modern city. A journalist, after his visit to varos¸ neighbourhoods, wrote: ‘When I came here, I realized that this place is a different world. Is this Istanbul? Is this the place that will be integrated into Europe? Is this place part of Istanbul?’59 A leftist writer, Oya Baydar, emphasized the distinct worlds of urbanites, claiming that varos¸ neighbourhoods were ‘separated from the city by psychological, social and cultural boundaries.’60 In this way, they were being constituted as dangerous places in the peripheries of the cities. The use of varos¸ indicated a clear shift corresponding to marginalization and criminalization of migrant working classes, and association of segments of the urban poor as the ‘dangerous populations’.61 It should be no surprise then that Harlem, as the quintessential representation of the urban inner city ghetto, kept emerging in the public discourses in Turkey about the varos¸ neighbourhoods. Its image as the black ghetto within American society has been created by various stories about crime in the US. Relying on its prefabricated imagery, the disorderly poor neighbourhoods in Turkey were referred to as Harlem.62 It was a particularly successful analogy, allowing for the transfer of a racist and criminalized imagery of Harlem onto the neighbourhoods in Turkey.



Thus, varos¸ is not just a spatial term. It attributes particular meanings about the populations it contains. ‘City bandits’, ‘dangerous classes’, ‘dogs’ were the permeating depictions of these populations in the media and the popular imagination alike.63 Varos¸es were the ‘no-go sections’ of the city, where ‘even the police can’t enter’.64 They contained the ‘dangerous populations’ who are culturally and racially discernable from the rest of the city, especially because of their perceived predisposition to criminality. Varos¸ areas were ‘crime heavens’, especially since the police could not control these spaces.65 According to the media commentaries and the news, criminals could easily hide in these spaces and thus crime levels were much higher in them.66 Moreover, the criminal was at home with ‘degenerate’ culture of the varos¸. In as much as the varos¸ was a politically marginal area as depicted by the label ‘saved-space’, it was also the criminal space of the city.67

Criminalization of the Racialized Urban Poor in the Neoliberal Era The shift from the use of the terms gecekondu to varos¸ was closely linked to the Kurdish migration, and the changing position of labour in the neoliberal urban economies. The informal sector including the illegal survival strategies grew in the face of declining formal employment. Once a part of the organized working classes, many migrants, especially the most recent generations, found themselves in precarious positions in the flexible post-industrial labour relations. Based on her study of Zeytinburnu, a working class shantytown in Istanbul, Yonucu argues that the vibrant working class cultural and political life of the older generations was replaced by an increasing engagement of the Zeytinburnu youth in petty criminal activities. In the face of declining employment opportunities and increasing polarization, the Zeytinburnu youth resorted to crime as a way to satisfy their desires in a consumerist society.68 The composition of the urban poor, the political dynamics of the migration that changed this composition during the 1990s, was an important factor in the criminalization process. The ‘war on terror’ and forced migration of Kurdish populations in the 1990s brought



many Kurds to large cities such as Istanbul, Adana, Izmir, Mersin, Diyarbakır, and Ankara. An already deteriorated labour market and the lack of social inclusion mechanisms rendered them even more precarious in the cities they migrated to. The violence of the war, and the structural violence in the personal histories of Kurdish migrants shaped their lives in the cities, but these forms of violence also transformed the cities to which they migrated.69 Similarly, Comaroff and Comaroff argue that this has been the case in post-apartheid South Africa: ‘the burgeoning violence endured by segregated black communities under apartheid has, especially since the late 1980s, spilled over into once tranquil, tightly policed, “white” cities and suburbs.’70 Following the Comaroffs, it can be argued that once far away and isolated from the violence of the war, the western cities of Turkey started to experience the spreading of the violence from the Kurdish regions, mostly in the form of crime and interpersonal violence. Kurdish migration, understood without taking account of its historical and political roots, was depicted as the source of the new crime wave. Police sources suggested that the source of urban crime was ‘socio-economic migration from eastern and south eastern provinces towards big cities.’71 In the cities Kurdish people migrated into, the association of Kurds with ‘terror’ also shaped the attitudes against them socially, economically and politically. Their alleged criminality was also linked to this. A rise in street crime and the urban crime wave were connected to the ‘terrorists’ in the cities. Kapkac, for instance, was an indispensible discursive source for the delineation of the link between ‘terror’ and street crime, between the Kurdish migration and widespread criminality in urban Turkey. In the media and other discursive spaces Diyarbakır, the largest Kurdish city, was depicted as ‘the centre of kapkac’ producing ‘seasonal muggers’.72 The Kurdish children and youth were constructed as the main subjects of criminality as well as (potential) terrorism.73 Kapkac, moreover, was defined as a crime weapon of the gangs. It was also defined as a tool of drug traffickers and as a source of funds for the PKK. Therefore, kapkac and drugs were not simply economic crimes of poor people, but were part of the ‘terror’ that shaped 1990s Turkey.



In this sense, the new group of criminals were not composed simply of destitute victims of poverty and lack of opportunity, but also, most importantly, ‘potential terrorists’. A novel characteristic – one that is quite political – of dangerousness was omnipresent in the ethno-racially distinct criminals. There was a fine line between criminals and terrorists. Hence, crime was in fact a much more serious phenomenon as its perpetrators were on the fringes of society and a political threat to it at the same time. The new criminals were also ‘professionals’ in that they knew the ‘legal loopholes’ through which they could escape the law.74 Celalettin Cerrah, the police chief of Istanbul at the time, argued: Aware of the legal loophole, gangs use children younger than eighteen in theft and kapkac . We can’t interrogate children because of the law and we transport them to public attorney when we catch them. 14,874 juveniles were caught in the past year and only 224 were subjected to criminal procedures. The rest were left free on the street.75 Racist news about Kurdish criminality was abundant. For example, one newspaper claimed: Since [these children] know that they will be released by the attorney general’s office when they are caught, they don’t plead guilty. They spend their free times in Internet cafes, like to play video games that contain violence such as ‘Counter Strike’, and they like wearing jeans with white and red sneakers. Before they go to ‘work’ they smoke pot [. . .] and take pills. Among such children, some are even as young as 11 years old. Another characteristic is their strong claims of their identities. Feeling deep anger towards the state, these children see the state and the rich as responsible for their experiences. While they do not miss DEHAP76 rallies, they refrain from theft and pick pocketing only during these rallies.77



¨ cal Uluc , a journalist speaking in a conference on kapkac in Izmir O has boldly put forward the following observation: Starting in May, hundreds of children from eastern and southeastern Turkey are brought to big cities by some powers in order to be pushed into criminal activity. Pay attention to the faces of little children in our big cities who take the purses of our wives and run away, or jump in front of our cars to beg for a couple of pennies to clean our windows, and the faces of those tiny munchkins who are forced into the illegal separatist terrorist acts and demonstrations. They look perfectly alike. I want to ask those who govern us: ‘what is going to become of these little children when they grow up?’ They migrate to our cities, cannot find a job and have no opportunity of education, and to be honest, they live in the neighbourhoods that became crime ghettos, which even our security forces, cannot enter, and they are trained to become criminals. Is there anything else to do for them, other than becoming gang members or separatists, terrorists?78 Kurdish children’s association with crime also allowed two things. First, it exposed the exploitative character of crime. According to the media they were kidnapped and brought from different cities.79 After being trained, the news stories argued, the children were employed in different forms of crime.80 Secondly, such association presented an opportunity to depict the features of this new culture of criminals. It was from the children that some information about the general society could be extracted.81 News stories also suggested that families willingly rented their children to gangs in order to generate income for the family. Thus they were depicted as cruel people who sell their children for ‘only 250 million’ liras (about 200 dollars at the time).82 The familial relations of the juvenile reflected a hidden information about the culture of the family, more specifically, the culture of the migrant family.83 A newspaper report provided the statistical evidence: 46.8 per cent of street children who committed



crime have migrated from eastern and south-eastern Anatolia.84 A study by the Family Research Institute (Bas¸bakanlık Aile Aras¸tırma Kurumu) determined that 90 per cent of all juveniles were from Diyarbakır, having been migrated to the western cities within the last decade.85 Saadettin Tantan, a famous police chief of the 1990s known for his unrelenting attitude towards all kinds of criminals, and later the Minister of Internal Relations, talked about high birth rates in Eastern Turkey that resulted in families ‘letting go’ of the children who were then utilized by crime organizations. He thus warned the government to take ‘necessary policies in family planning’ because otherwise ‘births will increase and the problem will continue.’86 Moreover, as the people who were the subjects of migration were ‘unqualified’ and ‘uneducated’, they were more likely to commit crimes, claimed the assistant governor of Izmir in a conference.87 The habitats of migrants also produced a culture of criminality, according to the various crime discourses in circulation. The shantytowns were established as breeding grounds of child criminality. For instance, through a study of court files of 3,327 juvenile offenders in Izmir Juvenile Court, Hancı concluded that the gecekondus were problematic not just because of ‘crooked’ urbanization, but also due to their criminalizing effect on children.88 Similar to the methodology of early ecological criminology,89 Hancı traced the addresses of the juveniles and found a pattern that implied a link between shantytowns and criminality.90 Migrants have carried on their rural culture in the shantytowns allowing traditional norms and mechanisms of control to remain intact; although it was argued that urban life ‘degenerated’ their cultural values, leading to criminality, especially in the younger generations. Bengi Semerci, a psychiatrist, explained the reason behind kapkac incidents: ‘They don’t mug because they need to feed themselves or due to lack of choice. The changing moral values in the general structure of the society or lack of education in the varos¸ areas are among the reasons.’91 Hence, it was the culture in the varos¸ areas, the culture of poverty, which produced their criminality. In becoming intertwined with criminality and danger, the discourses on varos¸ neighbourhoods implied a spatial and racial



construction of its inhabitants. Particular neighbourhoods with racialized urban poor populations (Kurdish as well as Roma people, who have long been defined as criminal subjects) were singled out as criminal spaces. A journalist depicting the ‘anatomy of thief’ claimed for instance: the thief ‘prefers Fatih as home and S¸is¸li as workplace’, and in that crime and criminal were quite spatial.92 A newspaper story depicted a ‘kapkac-ridden’ street in Beyog˘lu, the most central district of Istanbul. The street was adjacent to the slum area that hosted the criminals and hid them in its confusing streets.93 According to the news, police determined the places in Istanbul where kapkac offenders lived: Esenyurt, Sefako¨y I˙no¨nu¨ Mahallesi, Altıns¸ehir, Bag˘cılar, Topkoparan, Zeytinburnu, Karagu¨mru¨k, Kumkapı, Cankurtaran, Nis¸anca, Eyu¨p, Tarlabas¸ı, Kag˘ıthane, U¨mraniye, Pendik, Kartal, Sarıgazi, Alibeyko¨y and Gaziosmanpas¸a.94 Most of these varos¸ neighbourhoods were populated largely by ethno-racial minorities. This spatiality is not a coincidence, but an integral element of the neoliberal political economy of the cities.95 Through new regulations a reordering of the space for the stability and maintenance of capitalist accumulation has been taking place. A concentration of various social struggles in the cities, and a surging of new interests in urban space, has situated the city at the centre of neoliberal transformations. This transformation process has been defined as neoliberal urbanism.96 On the one hand, it has offered new enclosures and accumulation processes to overcome the crisis of capitalism since the 1970s.97 On the other hand, it has hosted social struggles and riots shaped within spatially marked inequalities. Neoliberal urbanism was a means to intervene in those antagonisms: crises on the one hand and social conflicts on the other. While reproducing capital through a revalorization of the urban space, the neoliberal urban reconstruction processes would overcome political solidarities and liquidify political subjects for the benefit of capital, while promising to create non-antagonistic spaces for the middle classes. Neoliberal urbanism has operated through exclusion, segregation and marginalization of the labouring classes, especially through the process of gentrification, which revalorizes the urban space.98 While gentrification created opportunities for the middle classes,



working-class neighbourhoods and slums constituted the spaces for ‘revival’, ‘renewal’, ‘regeneration’, and ‘cleansing’.99 This not only meant new spaces for accumulation, but it was also supposed to resolve one of the ways in which social antagonisms have manifested in cities: the rising crime levels.100 Fabrication and production of criminogenic places through crime discourses has opened up opportunities for intervening on the city and its ‘undesirables’. Similar concerns of security in the city and fear of crime is shaping the neoliberal cities in Turkey. In this respect, it is no wonder that the city planners are increasingly engaging in issues of crime.101 They produce theses, working papers, and publications investigating the relationship between crime and the built environment as well as the territorial distribution of crime. One of such work available in English mentions of the reasons of curiosity and theoretical lineages of city planners with crime. Motivated by the Habitat Conference II held in Istanbul in 1996, Ergu¨n and Yirmibes¸og˘lu try to show the ‘close link between crime ratios and the physical, socio-demographic characteristics and economic structures of settlements.’102 Following the ecological school and its quantitative methods, they try to locate criminal districts in Istanbul and they situate themselves in the project of ‘identification of the precise location of the area and the type of area [. . .], identification of the problems of crime in the area.’103 City planners are more interested in building a relationship between the quality of life and crime in urban settings than locating where the criminals are, even though that too is considered as a parameter of (lack) of quality.104 They are quite involved in the theorization and production of projects about security from crime with respect to city planning. The fierce engagement of the policy makers with such criminologies has been manifested in the reshaping of the neoliberal cities in Turkey, which were ‘infested’ with varos¸ neighbourhoods and crime. The need for a clean city, quality of life for the middle classes, and for eliminating criminogenic areas have been discursively utilized for the rearrangement of the city through new gentrification policies as well as large-scale Urban Transformation Projects (Kentsel Do¨nu¨s¸u¨m Projeleri). According to the agency responsible for construction of large-scale housing complexes, the



aim of these projects was to rehabilitate the city by demolishing the gecekondus and in their place, establishing better housing for all types of inhabitants. As Bartu-Candan and Kolluog˘lu explain, the fear about crime in the case of Istanbul, for instance, has been productive of segregation practices in the city, visible in Urban Transformation Projects, gentrification practices, and securitized urban spaces.105 Private security solutions to crime in urban space were also found to be effective. Securitized and gated communities have long been a part of the landscape of Turkey’s big metropolises. Many studies have shown that the new housing complexes and gated communities draw on the fear of the wealthy classes from crime.106 The governor of Istanbul, Muammer Gu¨ler, supported these developments, and argued for a larger involvement of private actors in the securitization of space: ‘We cannot prevent theft only through the techniques of policing. We should place a police at every apartment, and also take private security measures. Residential communities [gated] can establish private security organs.’107 In Izmir, a large housing cooperation named Ege-Koop, responsible for building big apartment-complextowns for low- to mid-income households, integrated crime into their city planning through a symposium on kapkac. The conference situated the housing developments against – and in place of – the shantytowns in terms of organization, cleanliness, security and lack of crime. The aim was to link building environment to criminal activity, so as to claim legitimacy for transformation of shantytown areas into housing developments. Others have also presented on spatial conceptualizations of, and responses to, crime. For example, Mehmet Ag˘ar, a political party leader at the time, as well as a former head of EGM and a long-term figure in the Turkish Gladio (‘state-within-the-state’), has offered to brief the government about ‘the work from he who knows it the best’ referring to his prior ‘accomplishments’ in the field of security. According to Ag˘ar, the solution to crime was about a ‘restructuring’ of the city through the creation of a ‘security chain’. What he meant by a ‘security chain’ was spatial: ‘Responsibility areas should be created and for certain places in Istanbul micro plans should be made.’108



Perhaps the most radical solution to crime and urban unrest was presented just before the rise of crime discourses. In 1995, Burhan ¨ zfatura, then the major of Izmir, proposed to levy visa requirements O on those who want to migrate to the city. Later, Tayyip Erdog˘an also repeated this ‘solution’ on two different occasions. He was insistent on requiring transfer papers when entering the big cities, since migration was ‘inciting crime and terror.’ The undesirables should be kept out of the cities, according to him. Imagining being a border patrol agent, he improvised an encounter with a migrant: ‘Why are you coming, do you have money in your pocket? Do you have job, or a relative? Why are you coming? Are you a terrorist?’109

Conclusion Crime discourses produced by different actors have become increasingly influential in constructing ‘dangerous classes’, who are mostly members of ethno-racial minorities inhabiting poor shantytown neighbourhoods in the neoliberal cities. Similarly a deliberate fabrication of moral panic about the urban poor, particularly Kurdish migrants, through the discourses about crime is reproduced on a daily basis in urban Turkey. Varos¸, which contained the ethno-racial minorities, has become the object of criminological thinking, of media, police, politicians and academics alike. Once the subjects of working class politics, the migrants have been constituted as ‘dangerous populations’, threatening the neoliberal order of the city. Even though the media was primarily responsible for exploiting and fabricating the fear and operating the moral panic, other actors have been closely involved in the production of knowledge about crime in general and kapkac in particular. They find the culture of poverty and migration to be the sources of crime. These crime discourses, however, veil a whole set of social processes that stemmed from the transformations in the economy and the ‘war on terror’. Hall et al. argues that crime discourses are very functional in concealing the social, political and economic dimensions in which crime takes place:



By translating a political issue into a criminal one . . . – thereby making it easier a legal or control, rather than political, response from the authorities. This transposition of frameworks not only depoliticizes an issue by criminalizing it, but also singles out from a complex of different strands the most worrying element – the violent one. The resignification process thus also simplifies complex issues . . . They further suggest that: By signifying a political issue through its most extreme and violent form, signification helps to produce a ‘control’ response – and makes that response legitimate . . . Imaginary convergences therefore serve an ideological function – and that ideological function has real consequences, especially in terms of provoking and legitimating a coercive reaction by both the public and the state.110 Crime discourses about kapkac and other forms of urban violence in Turkey have also been crucial in shaping governmental policies, various aspects of law, and the cultural attitudes of urbanites. Even though the fear, precariousness and vulnerability that existed in the consciousness of the urbanites were caused by a violence that was much more structural, transpiring in many different levels of social relations, kapkac and other urban disorders were singled out as the source. Moreover, in this way the neoliberal ideologies of crime provide legitimacy to the state-embedded and state-directed violence and coercion against the populations associated with criminality. Canan Arıtman, a member of parliament form CHP,111 explained the shortcomings of the current legislation on kapkac and called for congregating around some policy changes in addition to access to guns for self-protection, like the three guns she possessed ‘for sports’. Celalettin Cerrah proposed an exact solution to crime in an interview: ‘If you remove delinquent children and glue sniffers, believe me there will be a great decline in crime.’112 As a response to growing panic about kapkac, a ‘Mugging Commission’ was established in 2004.



It was composed of several ministers from the government, and they worked to create strong measures to solve the mugging problem.113 In April 2005, a change in the Turkish Criminal Code increased the penalty for kapkac: from three to seven years in prison. If kapkac and other crimes were connected to ‘dangerous’ neighbourhoods, the response has been to criminalize the whole neighbourhood. Shantytowns in turn became the objects of ‘neighbourhood-wise operations’ by the police forces. For instance, in the predominantly Roma neighbourhood of Sarıgo¨l, in a cooperative operation by the Narcotics, Public Order, and Special Forces departments, 1,500 police raided the whole neighbourhood for three hours and detained 16 people for drug and theft related offences.114 Similar operations took place in other neighbourhoods and the assistant police chief of Istanbul, who was responsible of the operation in Sarıgo¨l, announced that others were planned.115 The close connection that was made between shantytowns and crimes in Turkey also implied the adoption of urban policies that were legitimized through the discourse on crime. In this way, one of Istanbul’s own Harlems was demolished. According to the news: ‘The shanties in Sarıgo¨l, the neighbourhood known to be the centre of kapkac gangs and drug trade, are being demolished by the municipality one by one.’116 The neighbourhood was depicted as a place ‘where street gangs roam; the trash trucks can’t even enter due to security concerns; and due to the drug trade the municipality can’t even put up lighting.’ In addition, Giuliani’s name and his zerotolerance policies were proposed on different occasions as possible solutions to address the problem of crime.117 The need for more police officers to fight the growing crime was presented on many occasions. Along with the crime panic, the ideology of being ‘tough on crime’ was growing in urban Turkey.


‘A policeman’s job is only easy in a police state’ Charlton Heston as Ramon Miguel Vargas in Touch of Evil by Orson Welles, 1958

Introduction The moral panic about crime in urban Turkey was also a moment of police crisis. As much as the discourses about crime and violence produced panic and fear, they also brought up a discussion about the effectiveness, powers, and operations of the Turkish police. The same discourses that explicitly blamed poor migrants and ethno-racial minorities in the metropoles as sources of criminality also exposed a crisis in the TNP that has been developing since the late 1980s. However, as I will argue in this chapter, the crime panic, while detrimental to police legitimacy at first, has been successfully turned into a public strategy to increase police powers and reinvent the police organization. While the blame was not fully put on the police, the new urban crime wave was partly associated with the ‘inability’ of the organization to perform its most basic role – that is to fight criminals.1 However, the police crisis in Turkey was not only about the police’s effectiveness or its lack thereof against crime. More importantly, its crisis was linked to its



long history of corruption, abuse and violence. The crime discourses reignited the debate over police power and its practices. The police faced a crisis that peaked in conjunction with the crime panic. The police organization in this way has been able to re-evaluate its powers and redefine itself.

History of the Police Violence and Corruption Police organization has a central role in the constitution of force and violence of the modern state. It is a flexible institution, operating in a particular position with respect to the law. It is both a law making and law enforcing institution. The police behaviour is not fixed by laws, while the police force is flexible so that it can act ‘promptly and immediately’.2 They occupy a semi-autonomous space, to draw on Benjamin’s essay ‘Critique of Violence’; the police not only preserve law, but also make law in its daily operations.3 And as Derrida suggests, the police interpret law ‘each time law is indeterminate enough to give them a chance.’4 In its encounter and interventions, it does not simply enforce the law but also goes beyond it. Hence, extralegality is integral to the police. Foucault has a similar take: ‘Police is the permanent coup d’e´tat that is exercised and functions in the name of and in terms of the principles of its own rationality, without having to mold or model itself on the otherwise given rules of justice.’5 The modern state in its principle of monopoly of violence relies on the differentiation between unsanctioned and sanctioned violence. The modern state claims to utilize only sanctioned, legal violence. Yet both kinds of violences exist and are constitutive of the modern state in its operations.6 Talal Asad, for instance, describes torture as an integral part of modernity. He makes a differentiation between modern and pre-modern torture.7 In the pre-modern period, torture ‘was carried out unapologetically and in public [. . .] It was the object not of exposure but of display’ of sovereign power.8 Modern torture however is to be secretly exerted and publicly denied, as it was no longer legal and sanctioned. The modern state needs to hide those acts considered ‘uncivilized therefore illegal’, while the secrecy



produces and contributes to the disciplinary power.9 Torture might not be necessary to display for the sovereign power, Asad notes, but it is necessary for the maintenance and production of social order.10 In a similar vain, writing on Iran, Rejali describes the integrity of torture in the formation of modernity.11 As Carol Strange posits: Bodily punishment persisted not just in some regressive prisons, or in backward countries, or the pre-modern West: it continued to operate alongside modern disciplinary techniques in the same places, at the same times, and often inflicted through the same institutions and agents.12 Especially at sites and periods in which subject formation requires force and the political power is seen as illegitimate, torture or other forms of display of spectacular punishments are resorted to for reproducing order and discipline. Modern states in the West employed ‘excess’, ‘sanguinary’ and ‘barbaric’ punishments including torture, both outside and along with the prison, which was to replace those very cruel forms of punishment. For instance, in its colonies, Europe could inflict torture without a need for hiding or denying. There were multiple ways to justify punishments in the colonial contexts, but most importantly the subjects’ ‘inferiority’ and the animalistic imagery associated with them allowed the colonial authority to exert inhumane treatment.13 The violent history of the Turkish police can also be seen in this light. Inherent to the modern state, extra-legal force and unsanctioned violence have been part of the Turkish state and its institutions. Moreover, a particular historical context shaped and magnified the extra-legal practices and unsanctioned violence alongside the sanctioned violence. It was the consolidation of a national security state, which goes back to the 1970s, but taking shape more clearly especially after the 1980s that is important to revisit. During the 1960s and 1970s, the working classes and their political activities were met with the growth of the capacity of force of the capitalist state. As a number of military coups tried to



establish the authority of the capitalist state in different intervals (1960, 1971, 1980), the police would provide a force in establishing the authority over the ‘unruly’ populations. The TNP has an indisputable place as an organ of the national security state. Throughout the formation and consolidation of the national security state, especially since the 1980s, the TNP and its capacities were also expanded. Berksoy describes the formation of the Society Police in 1965 as the initial attempt in this expansion.14 The formation of the Society Police reflected the changing regulatory arrangements of the state in response to the transformation of the society through industrialization, proletaranization and increasing social dissidence.15 The expansion and militarization of the TNP accelerated after 1980. New laws were passed to increase the police authority, expanding search and seizure capacity of the police, giving them the right to shoot at those who did not obey a stop command of security forces. The 1980 law regarding the Re-organization and Modernization Project of the General Directorate of Security (EMREMO) within the EGM constituted the framework through which the expansion and militarization of the police would take place at an extraordinary pace.16 The auxiliary yet equally destructive and brutal role of the police during the military rule of the 1980 –83 period, and its role in the repression of the social movements that consolidated the authoritarian role of the police have been crucial sources in the militarization of the TNP. The ‘peace and security’ discourse of the military rule rested on the widespread terrorization of everyday, as well as political life. Furthermore, the war against PKK has been of particular significance. The empowerment of ‘statewithin-the state’ after the 1980s, but more importantly during the war in the Kurdish regions against the PKK during the 1990s, increased the powers and technological capacities of the police. In the Kurdish region during this time, the TNP consolidated some form of immunity, and established access to an important legitimacy production through the discourse of national security. Operating under the conditions of war and state of exception (OHAL), which continued from 1987 to 2002, the TNP easily resorted to extra-legal



as well as legal violent tactics. Under OHAL, it was equipped with new powers, material resources and ideological and political support. Berksoy’s study extensively documents the process of the militarization of the TNP since the 1980s.17 The formation of highly militarized units such as Rapid Action Forces (C¸evik Kuvvet) in 1982 and Special Operations Unit (O¨zel Harekat) in 1983, as well as their gradual expansion were also significant in these processes.18 The Rapid Action Forces would be responsible for the urban unrest and social movements in the cities. They were quite aggressive in the repression of working class, urban social movements and Kurdish demonstrations especially during Newroz events.19 The Special Operations Unit, on the other hand, was formed as a paramilitary unit equipped with special technology and weaponry, trained in guerrilla warfare, and was utilized in the ‘war on terror’ especially during the 1990s.20 The Special Operations Unit was first established under the Public Order Department, and later on became a subunit of the Anti-Terrorism Department. It became an independent department within TNP in 1993, indicating the augmentation of its power and resources. The growing centrality of the Anti-Terrorism and Operation Department – formerly, the 1st Division (1. S¸ube) – also implied the police organization’s increasing importance in the ‘war on terror’ and its militarized regulatory intervention in the society.21 During the 1990s, new specialized units continued to be incorporated into the department. Motorcycled units (Yunus Polisi), for instance, would be fast street patrol teams. Formed first in Istanbul in 1993, they were then established in 20 other cities by the year 2000. They were arranged as a way to meet the new security demands in the big cities.22 Since the 1980s, the TNP added new equipment and weaponry, and increased the number of police drastically. The number of police personnel was 13,500 in the 1960s and 50,000 in 1980, reaching approximately 270,000 in 2015.23 The institutional transformations were also reinforced by legal changes that provided police with the legal basis to act in a flexible manner. EM-REMO set the tune for the 1980s, while the 1990s started with the passing of the Anti-Terror Law.24 Legislated in 1991, the law proposed quite an ambiguous



definition of terror including non-violent offences, and this allowed for a greater flexibility in the practices of criminal justice institutions.25 Terrorism, according to this law: is any kind of act done by one or more persons belonging to an organization with the aim of changing the characteristics of the Republic as specified in the Constitution, its political, legal, social, secular and economic system, damaging the indivisible unity of the State with its territory and nation, endangering the existence of the Turkish State and Republic, weakening or destroying or seizing the authority of the State, eliminating fundamental rights and freedoms, or damaging the internal and external security of the State, public order or general health by means of pressure, force and violence, terror, intimidation, oppression or threat. In addition to this ambiguous definition, the penalties for terror offences were increased. Moreover, new protections were given to those security personnel who were employed in the fight against terror. In Article 15 of the Anti-Terror Law, ‘trial without imprisonment’, describes these protections: ‘Where chiefs and officers of police and intelligence or other officials engaged in fighting terrorism are publicly prosecuted for crimes allegedly committed during the course of their duty, they shall be tried without being detained’. Moreover, limitations were placed on the rights of the ‘terror’ suspects during the criminal procedure. The suspects could be detained for longer periods without access to lawyers.26 The Anti-Terror Law would also produce the legal basis for F-type prisons, maximum-security units, which utilize isolation practices.27 In short, the Anti-Terror Law provided a legal basis for the violent practices of security forces through the inclusion of various forms of political dissidence under the definition of terror, and consequent reduction in the rights of suspects, and legitimization of the use of extra-legal force. This period of the militarization of the police is also connected to the history of politicization of the police department. To accommodate a coherent political stance in the department, dissident voices from



within the police organization were largely eliminated. During the 1980 coup, progressive police officers were expelled, and continuous pressure was placed on the members of the police who in any way openly reacted to the corruption and conflicted with the political tendencies of the department. A rare biographical piece by an active member of the police trade union, Pol-Der in the TNP ¨ ner describes the pre-1980 cleaning of during the 1970s, Sıtkı O the police department from the union activists.28 Police members, who were fighting for their rights as workers and for the accountability of the organization itself were singled out and dismissed. Those who were regarded to have progressive political views were closely followed and personal files about their lives were maintained.29 The political coherence of the TNP was also ensured by a strict personnel strategy. Personnel selection, recruitment, appointments, disciplinary penalties and promotions depended heavily on the politics of the police personnel.30 Until 1995, alongside the political coherence, ethnic coherence of the organization was also ensured through a law that openly forbade the application of non-Muslim populations into the police organization. Turkey’s Jewish, Armenian and Greek populations had no right to apply. After the European Commission forced the Turkish state to change the law in 1995, they were given the right to be a member of the police organization. However, as C¸ag˘lar suggests, the tradition of excluding non-Muslim populations in the police force still continues.31 In 1990, a small study published by a popular journal, Nokta, showed that religious affiliation has also been an important determinant in the selection and promotion processes as the Islamist politicians started to gain power nationwide. For example, the Fethullah organization, a nationalist-Islamist group, was argued to have acquired considerable influence in the TNP since the 1990s. Others, too, suggested the that the Fethullah organization utilized various means to gain their hold in the police organization, as it would be much harder to gain power within the overtly secular army.32 The presence of the Fethullah organization in the TNP was halted after the power struggle between the organization and the



ruling AKP government who were once acting in tandem. After the corruption operations by the police in 2013 against the high ranking officials, the government started to arrest, detain and remove those police officers who were accused to be members of the Fethullah organization. Police sources also have their own perspective on the politicization. They conceptualize politicization as the influence of civil authority on the police forces. While the process of politicization I mention in this instance is related to a political position of the department and its members, this perspective also can be useful. According to the regulations ratified in 1988, all transfers and promotions were subjected to the approval of civil district officers, who were a part of the executive branch of the government and appointed by it. Being accountable to an elected civilian political authority, especially high-ranking police officers opened them to the direct and intimate influence of governments and their political associations. Those who are in conflict with government do not have much opportunity to serve in their desired cities or be further promoted within the ranks, while those in close relation with the political actors of the governing party are protected and given preferential treatment in the processes of appointments and promotions. Nepotism was thus created among the police rank and file and political actors.33 Berksoy, reading through the journal Polis, brings out the dominant ideologies and political perspectives within the police organization.34 These are not just ideas that are strategically produced by the managerial level police members, but they operate through the practices that exclude and eliminate any conflicting idea, while making sure the police cadres are shaped in accordance with the ideological political position of a militarized police force. The police organization, according to Berksoy, positioned itself against the ‘communist/anarchists’ during the pre-1980 period and ‘divisive/ destructive traitors’ threatening the permanence of the state in the post-1980 period.35 Especially after the 1980s, the TNP became an overtly nationalist organization. The TNP perceived itself as protectors of the state



against a variety of enemies, as an ‘internal army’, equating the category of criminals with ‘enemies of the state’.36 They were ‘traitors’ to be eliminated as the senior police officers suggested in different venues. The attitude of the police and its members against the ‘enemies’, ‘terrorists’, ‘traitors’ and ‘leftists’ made it a partisan organization against these groups. The police perceived itself not as merely a protective organ of security but the manifestation of the state. In this way, any disproportionate violence of the police became legitimate as it protected the ‘perpetual existence of the state’.37 The effects of this politicization can be observed through police practices, especially when interacting with political dissidents. Ays¸en Uysal’s study on the Rapid Action Forces and social movements exemplifies the police’s partisan attitude and its violent intervention in social protests. Studying the Rapid Action Forces archives that include all the protests they intervened, she deciphers the dynamics that affect the police practices.38 One of the important factors that affect the use of disproportionate violence of the police, as she maintains, is the perception of the protesters as ‘enemies’.39 The political affiliations of the police were also seen in police demonstrations and collective acts of the police. One such protest took place in 1996 in Dersim, a stronghold of left-wing Kurdish activism, the police officers used the nationalist party’s finger symbol demonstrating against the new governor, who they accused of being a ‘communist’.40 On two different occasions in 1992 and 2000, police officers and Rapid Action Forces demonstrated against the ‘terrorists’ and used the same symbols, thus exposing their ultra-nationalist affiliations. In both cases, attacks against security forces agitated the police personnel, who perceived themselves as the reflection of state authority and the attackers as their enemies to be avenged.41 In an operation against radical leftist organizations in a Kurdish shantytown neighbourhood of Istanbul, Rapid Action Forces shouted ‘Ne mutlu Tu¨rk’u¨m diyene!’ (‘How happy is the one who says I am a Turk!’), a commonly used quote from Atatu¨rk.42 To summarize, the post-1980 period witnessed a consolidation of police power, and its militarization and politicization. In turn, it



entailed a long history of violence and abuse directed against various ‘enemies’ of the state.43 These took shape most clearly with the military coup and the regime of September 12. Moreover, during the 1990s, the violence and politicization of the police consolidated through the ‘war on terror’. The extra-legality, torture, abuse, and violence have been integral to the operations of the TNP. As a part of the authoritarian state, the police organization has utilized both legal and extra-legal violence. Below is a statistical look into the condition of human rights since 1999. The systemic nature of the torture and physical abuse by the TNP was evidenced clearly in the reports prepared by the Human Rights Commission of the Turkish Parliament under the leadership of Sema Pis¸kinsu¨t. The commission’s investigations that continued during 1998– 2000 produced an unexpectedly informative and honest report. It collected physical evidence of torture during the investigations at the police stations. The investigations also included interviews both with members of the police department and torture victims. In the interviews with the police, it became obvious that the police both on the individual and institutional level saw torture as their rightful means and an appropriate way to treat criminals.44 Many of the arrested were forced to confess to crimes they did not commit.45 Even though prepared by members of parliament as demanded by the government, the findings of the Human Rights Commission were not signed by the government; showing its half-hearted commitment to democratization and respect for human rights. Human rights abuses should not simply indict the police organization itself, but the kind of political/legal regime which created the basis for such activities. Reporting on the court cases against police abuse and ill treatment, human rights organizations also document that the use of torture and extra-legal force has in fact been an informal yet integral part of the functioning of the Law in Turkey. Patterns of acquittal of the charges, lack of punishments and of disciplinary measures, and defence of the police’s right to use force from the high levels of security personnel, to bureaucrats and government officials who are involved in such actions show the

212 145 160 75 50 47 1 20 42 29 18

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

205 173 55 40 44 47 89 130 66 65 108

Source: IHD (Human Rights Foundation)

Unsolved Murders

Killings Extra-judicial/ as a result of torture/by vigilantes/suspicious and under detention

Violations of right to life, 1999 – 2009


Table 3.1

857 147 92 30 104 240 496 345 424 432 141

Killings during armed conflicts 594 594 862 876 1,202 1,040 825 708 678 1,546 1,835

Torture and brutality

50,318 35,007 44,181 31,217 12,406 9,711 2,702 5,560 7,197 11,002 7,718


2,105 1,937 2,955 1,148 1,196 774 621 1,545 1,440 2,387 1,923




Table 3.2 Disciplinary actions taken against police officers accused of torture, 2005 – 9 Punishment None Continuing investigation Acquittals due to lapse of time TOTAL







40 1



24 1



3 51



existence of systematic support. In turn, these are structural elements of the state and the police, not ‘oddities’ or ‘a few bad apples’. The systemic disengagement with human rights abuse of the police; the absence of punishment for police brutality and torture had already been a fundamental characteristic of the state. These acts were not condemned but fully endorsed in the court cases and trials involving torture and brutality charges. For instance, according to a report of the Human Rights Commission of the Parliament, ‘between 2003 and 2008, 35 court cases were placed for 431 police officers accused of torture. Among these, 14 cases still continue, 64 police officers are acquitted and about 290 police offers, the courts decided to not prosecute. In the continuing cases 76 people are being tried. No personnel received punishment.’46 Table 3.2 and Table 3.3 illustrate the continuing non-punishment of torture.47

Table 3.3 2005 – 9

Court decisions regarding the police officers accused of torture,

Decision Dismissal from public office Prison sentence Acquittal Continuing case Not to be prosecuted TOTAL






0 0 9 11 44 64

0 0 19 24 33 76

0 0 8 3 19 65

0 0 9 18 2 29

1 1 5 5 33 45



Human Rights, Democracy, Police Crisis The human rights documents constituted the basis of the important challenges that the TNP faced. The European Union and European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and various human rights organizations operating in Turkey used human rights discourses and laws to challenge the TNP as well as other state actors who utilized disproportionate and extra-legal use of force in their activities. Both actors in the EU and Turkey-based human rights organizations emphasized the need for democratization of the state and its institutions. The families of political prisoners established the first human rights organization in Turkey, IHD (Human Rights Foundation), in 1986 as a response to widespread torture in the prisons and detention centres. It was one of the first organizations to question the operations of the regime of September 12. The pressure of the EU, on the other hand, accelerated with Turkey’s membership application to the EU in 1987 and the acceptance of individual applications against Turkish state at the ECtHR. The Turkish state’s candidacy to the EU was both discursively and institutionally conditioned on its democratization among other institutional, legal and economic changes. Human rights organizations in Turkey have undertaken a grassroots critique of the state’s human rights abuse, especially concentrating on the criminal justice and security organs of the state. It was not an easy task to confront authoritarian forces, and not always successful in the particular court cases which these organizations took up. However, they exposed and recorded state crimes and police brutality, producing a thorough critique of state violence as well as providing support for human rights victims. Even though they utilized a universalist discourse of human rights, the organizations were discredited as being supporters of ‘internal enemies’ of the state. Their work brought them close to the Kurdish movement in representing the injustices against the most repressed people in the Turkish geography; the human rights organizations constantly documented the state’s human rights abuse against the Kurdish people. In that, they were seen as ‘terrorists’ and ‘internal enemies’ much like the Kurdish populations they represented



and provided support for. According to the discourses against human rights organizations, these organizations challenged the state’s use of legitimate violence, against so-called criminals and terrorists. In 1987, Turkey accepted that not only states but also individuals could apply to ECtHR. Since then the cases against Turkey have been increasing; between 1954 and 2009 there has been a total of 31,873 cases.48 The inability of Turkish courts to deliver justice to victims of state violence, torture and abuse brought many cases to ECtHR. This made the human rights records of Turkey more wellknown by the international public. The EU moreover, imposed human rights and democratization processes in a top-down fashion. Democratization demands were negotiated by the Turkish state in its attempt to enter the EU. Democratization discourses of the EU had the capacity to fundamentally question the institutional – legal framework of the Turkish state, as the candidacy forced the state to reconsider some of its practices and democratize. Turkey became signatory in European Convention on Human Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, institutionally promising to respect human rights. In response, the involvement of the EU rendered the democratization process to be perceived by various actors as the manipulation of the ‘external enemies’, trying to eliminate the territorial unity, or to control the Turkish state and its resources. Human rights cases on the one hand, and EU-led policies, on the other, pointed to the illegitimacy of the disproportionate state violence, even though politically the relation of these two actors with the Turkish state diverged. The EU policies were an undesired but accepted condition to improve Turkey’s position as a candidate for EU accession, with government bureaucracies having to meet varying commitments at different periods. In turn, a highly politicized TNP perceived human rights as a tool utilized by ‘terrorists’, who did not deserve rights or fair treatment. The contestation of the institutional violence and the place of police in the operations of authoritarian state produced a crisis in the police force. The peak of the crisis took place in Susurluk,



a town north-west of Turkey, in 1996, when a traffic accident there brought corrupt and suspicious relations to light. A former ultra-nationalist militant wanted by police for multiple murders and drug trafficking, a senior police official, and a beauty queen were killed; and a parliament deputy from the then ruling party was injured. They were all in the same car which collided with a truck. The Susurluk Scandal exposed deeply hidden relationships between senior police officers, leaders of organized crime and politicians. It provided the most physical evidence of the existence of the ‘state-within-the state’, or the Gladio, which was responsible for many of the atrocities during the ‘war on terror’, especially for the repression of the political dissidents. Supporters of the Gladio attempted to discredit the scandal claiming that ‘they [were] the real patriots, they [were] the state’, and that they fought a legitimate war against the enemies of the state even through illegitimate means.49 However, the Susurluk scandal was unleashed. A popular nationwide event, known as ‘A minute of darkness for the sake of perpetual light’, demanded explanation about the Gladio organization of the state and protested the widespread corruption. Parliament established a commission to inquire into the Susurluk and the Gladio. Photographs showing Abdullah C¸atlı, the ultra-nationalist killed who was wanted for murder, together with Special Operations members of TNP were published in a newspaper, revealing the relations between police and fugitives from the law. Many Special Operations Department personnel were taken into custody; the head of the unit was arrested. However, most police members and politicians were absolved; the Susurluk scandal tried to be erased through the judicial processes.50 Through the scandal, what has been documented by the human rights organizations since the late 1980s became a part of a national debate. The Susurluk scandal underlined the corruption as well as the institutional violence in which the police was embroiled in. The police crisis did not take place in a linear manner. It was more like an ebb and flow: challenges that were posed to the TNP’s operations and powers questioned its legitimacy, while the TNP tried



to produce counter-attacks through security discourses. While the critics of the police demanded its democratization, the police sought to regain its power through the discourses of ‘enemies’ and ‘threats’ against which they claimed to be fighting against. At the early stage of the EU-pushed transformations, an important set of changes were introduced to the Law on Criminal Procedure (CMUK) in 1992, which had been in use since 1929 with several different amendments.51 The changes were related to the conditions and duration of arrest, detention periods, interrogation phases and the access to lawyers. The rights of suspects and defendants were ensured through the changes, and individuals were protected against criminal justice agencies, thus democratizing the criminal procedure. This new legislation was an attempt to put legal limits on the arbitrary and unchecked powers of criminal justice institutions, most of all, the police. The CMUK directly subjected the police to law, in particular the public attorney’s office in search, seizure, detention, interrogation, etc. New amendments were also made in 1997 and 2004. Even though CMUK was a result of the Turkish state’s commitment to democratize, democratization was regarded ‘suspect’ for it was connected to ‘external enemies’, the EU in this case, supporting the ‘internal enemies’. In turn, both the CMUK and the human rights discourses were met with police resistance. The police resisted the democratization of CMUK on various fronts since 1992. One of the most important arguments the police organization made use of was the alleged insufficiency of the organizational infrastructure to ensure the legal changes to be feasible and realizable. The police argued that the new regulations made it impossible for them to to do their job. For example, they were asked to operate under the permission of the prosecutors, a transformation that the police saw as a bureaucratic hassle that placed them in a subservient position. Given the technical and organizational realities, the police argued, the new laws would only cripple the police force. The new CMUK legislation was ignorant about the realities of existing criminal justice institutions. The argument went: there were not enough attorneys for every police station, not enough personnel;



the new demands would only increase the bureaucratic but meaningless work for the police, while preventing it to effectively function.52 Police officers were also involved in the resistance against the CMUK and the human rights discourses. First in 1992 and then in 2000, police forces – mostly composed of the members of Rapid Action Units – protested their ‘vulnerabilities’, which they argued were created by the CMUK, through its protection of criminals and terrorists. The demonstrations in 2000 erupted in reaction to the murder of two officers in December 2000. During their protests, which they participated in uniform and armed, they shouted: ‘Damn the CMUK’, ‘Damn the human rights’.53 The talk of kapkac and other forms of urban crime also served this end. Exactly during the period of the alleged rise in the crime rates and kapkac, the police found itself under pressure. As many people observed, ‘the thieves went in from one door of the police station and went out of the other.’ But, such comments were directly in line with the predictions of the organization about the capacity of police action in the face of the new CMUK regulations. The police fought the attacks off: it was the CMUK that ‘fettered’ the police. Neither thieves nor kapkac perpetrators were brought to justice as confirmed by various columnists. The former Istanbul police chief Celalettin Cerrah complained: ‘A pick-pocket was caught 38 times, and let free each time. We have a girl name Sultan, for instance. We catch her; court releases her. Two days later she commits the same crime.’54 Like many others, a police captain stated: There is no deterrence of the law. Ten policemen can’t handle one criminal to bring to the station. In Bursa, criminal, who commits the same crime 47 times, comes back again. If a person commits the same crime 48 times, then there is a problem. We take preventive measures, but the laws enable the suspects to be easily released.55 Another complained: ‘There is an unprecedented 200– 300 per cent rise in theft. And the police are held responsible for all this.’56



According to the police, the CMUK was responsible for the rise in urban crime, and impeded the police organization in its fight against crime. The police utilized similar arguments for the defence of police brutality and use of extra-legal force. During one of the interviews conducted by Sema Pis¸kinsu¨t, the vice-chief of Istanbul Directorate of Security talked of the necessity to use of extra-legal force. In response to Pis¸kinsu¨t’s question about prevention of abuse of power, he stated: ‘Your honour, if we simply make an order we can prevent such brutality, but then there would be a huge explosion of crime.’ Thus, the possibility of fighting crime was strictly situated against human rights and democratic rights of suspects. At the same time, he was confirming torture as an institutional practice, taking place under the commands of management.57 The police sporadically suggested that the lack of equipment, personnel, funds, public support, ‘dereliction and loneliness’ of the organization, in addition to the legal limitations imposed by CMUK on the police actions were the sources of police ineffectiveness. The former Assistant to the Head of the General Directorate Intelligence Division of the TNP, Bu¨lent Orakog˘lu, pointed out the legal loopholes preventing the police to function effectively. Referring to new CMUK regulations passed in 2004 and as a ‘bow tie’, Orakog˘lu defined them as unsuitable. He stated: There are important gaps between the new laws and the adaptation of these laws. Necessary regulations and by-laws had to be immediately passed. The articles bonded the police and prevented them in performing their jobs. These served well especially those who habitually engage in crime. The problems will increase as police can no more search vehicles or people without court permission. The loopholes in the laws have already produced a boom in the crimes such as kapkac and theft.58 When the EGM started to release the official statistics for public consumption in 2004, it was not at first fully clear why in the face of



rising crime statistics they would want to expose their failure to prevent crime, since the high crime rates implied the inability of the police to perform its most basic function. As the statistics confirmed, crime was on rise, and the police blamed their insufficient power.59 The Commission of Justice (Adalet Komisyonu) was set up within the parliament, to which the representatives of the police organization attended to voice their demands.60 In one of the meetings of the parliament’s justice commission, the police argued: ‘According to the [criminal procedure], we need to ask for permission from the public attorney. Without the permission we can neither catch nor detain a criminal. Under such conditions it would be impossible for the police to fight crime.’61 Released statistics were quite supportive of Turkish police’s stance against the CMUK. They were an opportunity to support the claims of the police that it was no more able to function due to the new restrictions or limits placed on its daily practices, especially its use of force. Celalettin Cerrah explained: The criminals are fearless. They think: ‘Police cannot shoot at me easily.’ Police can’t shoot even when there is self-defence. We can’t use our powers. I am not saying we should use weapons every time, but we need to reduce the judicial repression.62 Moreover, according to the police, the CMUK did not protect innocent people but instead professional criminals by equipping them with legal protections. Police blamed the changes in the CMUK, in affording ‘new rights to offenders, release of children younger than 18, and creating an image that crime is without punishment.’63 The overwhelming presence of children in the criminal gangs was attributed to leniency in the sentences and to the CMUK. Both the media and the police agreed on the existence of a professional criminal class, who knew the intricacies of criminal procedures and acted accordingly. Therefore against a professional class of criminals, who manipulated the laws, a strong police force was required. In fact, the new urban crime wave in Turkey has been linked to a more dangerous sphere, terror, as explained in the



previous chapter. Reinforcing the power and presence of the police were claimed indispensible: Today every citizen believes that even though thieves and muggers are caught, they can get away because they are young. ‘A thief gets out of the station before the victim’ they say. Thus, it has been made very easy for thieves. Moreover, the common crimes and terror are becoming more entrenched. They organize street gangs bringing little kids from the south-east.64 While the police tried to resist the CMUK, the growing crime discourses exacerbated its crisis. The police was seen as so corrupt and unaccountable that it was unable to even deal with street level crime. The discussions that linked the police and the rising crime rates have described the police’s ineffectiveness from corruption and unaccountability of the police organization. Various daily interactions with the police made the public increasingly suspicious about its actions. The police’s willingness to fight against crime was undermined with known cases of close ties with criminals and power centres in their work areas, in addition their arrogance in the use of their powers was a separate argument from the human rights discourses, but together they exposed a growing police crisis. News about the problems of policing were being circulated in the mainstream media. The titles of the news stories are sufficient to understand this as troubling times for the police: ‘Turkish police is alarming’, ‘Trouble in the police station’, ‘Critical times of the Turkish police’.65

Fight against Crime and Reinventing the TNP Crisis did not mean defeat for the police. The attack to the forces that demanded the reduction of its powers and questioned its workings was subverted through the utilization of the crime panic. Urban crime discourses allowed for a re-evaluation of the police powers and reinvention of its place in Turkish society as mentioned above. The discourses on the urban crime wave supplied the police with means to counter the legal limits imposed on its activities. Supported



by the statistical evidence of the EGM, urban crime, which at first was a means to question the workings of the police organization, turned into an effective counter-argument for the police. The TNP argued that in order to effectively fight against urban crime it had to be given back its powers, while renewing and transforming itself for the ‘new millennium’.66 When urban crime became the source of moral panic, it proved to be a much more legitimate ground for seizing public support, or at least public complacence in the use and extension of police powers. The ideology of crime, as demonstrated in the previous chapter had become quite powerful at the turn of 2000s. There was hardly any critical voice against the ways in which common crimes were constituted. Common crimes were defined as offenses against the ‘collective consciousnesses’ in the Durkheimian sense, disrupting the everyday life and citizen’s security at a very basic level. Ideologically, they were positioned as ‘immoral acts’ of culturally ‘degenerate’ populations. They were even connected to terrorism. Moral panic about crime was well established in the everyday as well as the political discourses. This is why, common crimes embodied in acts such as kapkac, and their treatment by the criminal justice institutions remained a flexible area where police intervention was perceived as the most legitimate.67 There is a social agreement about police intervention being seen as necessary; its disproportionate use of force against criminals as fitting. Because, in acting against the society and its collective consciousness, criminals can be extracted from the rightful domains of citizens, and thus deserve to be stripped of citizenship rights. Within this perspective, democratic rights of suspects are an oddity and the use of police force is thus deemed legitimate. Thus, the amelioration of the legitimacy problems of the police was sought also at the level of the fight against criminals and crime. Discussion of crime turned the terms of debate on the police power in particular, and the problem of democratization of the Turkish state, upside down. Crime discourses were useful in the process of reinventing the Turkish police. If only through sporadic interventions within the



large body of the TNP, public order crimes started to gain increasing stipulation and serious consideration. In the harsh treatment of and the violence against criminals, the reaction of the public and politicians and police organization had been much more openly rewarding.68 This was an indication of the demands of harsh treatment if necessary, as is the use of torture on ‘undeserving’ criminals. For many, the idea of giving rights to criminals was obscene. Not only the state sanctioned violence, but also citizen’s unsanctioned violence over the criminals was acceptable. The legitimization of disproportionate violence over the criminals is seen not only in the acts of the police, but also the in the growing vigilantism and lynching events both against common criminals and against the ‘internal enemies’ and terrorists.69 As a part of this collective sentiment against common crimes and criminals, the ‘good cop/bad cop’ distinction was also rearticulated. The ‘good cop’ was the professional and did not necessarily relate to the idea of justice. It was also a way to avoid the charges of corruption and human rights. Those who fought criminals by any means necessary were to be regarded as good. The idea was that the police could be harsh in its methods as long as it fought a legitimate fight against the ‘real’ criminals. They were the good police, while, ‘the bad’, was corrupt, uninterested in providing justice but fully entrenched in power relations. For instance, Saadettin Tantan, who was the Istanbul police chief of early 1990s, had a strong public support for his harsh but ‘just’ management of the Istanbul police. He was known to be incorruptible and fully devoted to his work. He was a powerful policeman not only fighting against criminals but also corrupt bureaucrats. His popularity even earned him the mayoralty of Istanbul later on. The crime panic and police discourses have resulted in an important legal change in the Police Duties and Rights Act (PVSK) in June 2007.70 The new PVSK laid the basis for police abuse and violence, which many critiqued to be an institutionalization of the police state in that it limited the rights of suspects and increased the police discretion in the use of force. Some of the changes clearly conflicted with the CMUK as well as the constitution in their



disavowal of the democratic rights of citizens, defined as suspects according to a report signed by various human rights organizations.71 According to the new act, the police were given new expanded legal powers in their practices. The new regulations eased restrictions regarding the police’s use of lethal force, expanded their rightful search and seizure activities, treatment of suspects and the use of weapons against the suspects were left to the discrepancy of individual police officers. The effects of these new regulations were instantaneous. According to a press release by Turkish Human Rights Foundation in June 2009, police brutality and torture cases rose rapidly since the passing of the new regulations in June 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, a total of 416 police brutality and torture cases were recorded, and 53 people were killed by the police.72 Moreover, while fighting against limitations put on the new police power, a move towards ‘modernization’, ‘professionalization’ and ‘effectiveness’ of the police became new buzzwords. Thus while the EU accession process demanded limits on the police force, it could also provide a way to refine the technologies and sources of the organization through a selective application of the EU demands. Even human rights could be reinterpreted, ‘translated’ into a technological bureaucratic apparatus of the state.73 The police seemed to be in conflict with the EU in its demands for democratization and accountability, yet it established close cooperation from the police departments of European countries and engaged in a transfer of knowledge through regular workshops, country visits, co-projects and importation of new strategies. Samuel Huntington in his Third Way suggests that there is a trend towards democratization amongst the authoritarian regimes in the South.74 In this process, he argues, the military influence over the political life is reduced as a result of a professionalization process. Other security institutions are too restructured in a similar way. Huntington places Turkey among the authoritarian regimes that are in the process of democratization.75 According to him, the influence of the EU is indispensible at this process. He writes: ‘In April 1987 Turkey applied for full membership in the European Community. One incentive was the desire of Turkish leaders to reinforce



modernizing and democratic tendencies in Turkey.’76 In turn, professionalizing the police organization, which has been a central part of the authoritarian state, has been in the agenda for a democratizing Turkey. In fact, modernization of its archaic institutions and professionalization of its operations became an alternative to the democratization of its practices. The language of democratization was voiced within the police organization through the idea of the police as a service institution and not as an institution of force. The police, in these arguments, need to be a service institution that operates within the democratic bounds of the rule of law and be accountable to the public they serve. Transforming the TNP into a service institution was a way to demilitarize and democratize it according to Cerrah.77 This emphasis on service coincides with the effects of neoliberalization of the institutions of the state. Neoliberal reorganization of the state institutions through a business mentality where the citizens are seen as customers to be satisfied reflected at the reinventing the police as a service of protection from crime. It would be no more a force mechanism in this new management mentality but a service that needed to be perfected. In turn, the police organization was increasingly concerned with effectiveness, professionalism and performance of the police indicating the re-making of the organization much like a corporation. In making sure that the police organization worked well, quality management techniques and personnel evaluation schemes were put in effect.78 However, human rights could not be simply ignored. As some officials understood, respect for human rights was constituted as a requirement for establishing the legitimacy of the police organization. Achieving the consent of the public was seen as a necessity.79 In turn, public relations also became an important aspect of the operations and reinvention of the Turkish Police.80 The police could no longer solely depend on force in its operations, but as many police scholars argued, it had to receive consent of the citizens.81 Public relations of the police as well as inclusion of the public into police work were elements in the process of gaining legitimacy.82 Ankara Directorate of Security for instance distributed a flier to its



members about the ways in which they should be dealing with and treating the public. The name of the flier was ‘Police-Public Relations and to Achieve the Support of the Public: Behaviour Principles Guide.’83 The police also sought to produce a new outlook, a new image: introduction of new uniforms, publicity campaigns, promotion of educated and presentable police officers and their public appearance to represent the TNP. Community Policing projects were also partly related to this project of ameliorating the public relations of the TNP.84 These projects are quite recent and still in the process of trial, yet they integrate the contemporary ideas about the need to form much closer relations with the public.85 Some police members perceive these changes as ‘window dressing’,86 or ‘bow tie’, no other than image operations to change the outlook of the police, but the TNP was in the process of changing itself and receiving public consent to overcome its crisis. Some of the changes mentioned above were mainly about the image of the police, but they took place together with many fundamental transformations that did not necessarily democratize the police operations but made it a much more coercive organization.

Conclusion In this chapter, I describe the crisis of Turkish police since the early 1990s. It was mainly a legitimacy crisis that stemmed from widespread torture and corruption within the police organization connected to its role in the authoritarian state practices since the 1980s. I show how the crime panic culminating in the early 2000s coincided and reinforced the crisis of the TNP. However, I argue that this crisis has been turned into a successful ideology for the consolidation of police power. The crisis of the police was a result of various challenges to its operations especially through human rights discourses and democratization demands of the EU. The police, moreover, was seen ineffective and corrupt, as verified by the rise of crime. The police response was to subvert this perspective by blaming the democratic rights of individuals and changes in the



criminal process. In turn, it sought to regain its legal powers while engaging in public relations that would increase its legitimacy among the citizens. In the process of reinventing the police as a professional institution that would provide service for citizens, the police achieved new rights that allowed them to more easily use force on criminals. The modernization and professionalization of the department instead of its democratization, in this sense, were not ways to resolve the real problems of policing in Turkey, but to consolidate its powers, which were challenged and limited by the human rights discourses and democratization process. In line with neoliberal reorganization of the state institutions, this professionalization did not translate into the democratization of policing. On the contrary, police sought to expand its power and authority in its profession to fight criminals, while seeking the consent of populations through establishing itself as a service organization. These changes have not been fully successful and transformative of the whole TNP. They rather indicate a tendency within the police organization, which still meets opposition and limits. The reinvention mostly remains as a public relations operation, a ‘bow tie’, and restructuring is largely an imposition from above that has not created a thorough transformation of the practices of police forces. But, the case of Izmir, as will be subjected in the following chapters, is a very thorough one that not only remained as an ‘image operation’ but a manifestation of the police reinvention. The next chapter will document the transformation of the Izmir Police in detail.


Introduction Among those who recognized the need for more effective policing of common and petty crimes, and reiterating order in the city through their control, was the Izmir police chief, Hu¨seyin C¸apkın. Formerly the police chief of other cities such as Mersin, Antalya, Gaziantep, Manisa, Adana and Bursa, C¸apkın was appointed to the city of Izmir in May 2006.1 When he was in Adana and Bursa, he had experimented with developing new schemes of public order policing. As soon as he arrived in Izmir, he put these experiments into a more comprehensive program to restructure public order policing. He brought his team, which included his most trusted personnel. The governor endorsed the chief’s plans and provided the funds and resources for the realization of the new system that promised to institute ‘peace and security’ in the city.2 C¸apkın soon launched the process of reforming and restructuring the Izmir Public Order Police. New measures and projects aimed to increase the effectiveness of the police, manage and professionalize its




members, increase police power over the urban space, and eliminate crime in Izmir. By the time C¸apkın arrived, the native and middle-class Izmirlis had already begun to feel long-term decline in Izmir’s economic life. As explained in the introductory chapter, while unemployment rose, the population continued to grow. The feelings of economic and social disruption and insecurity found their expressions in the fear and moral panic about crime, as in other centres of migration. The objects of the moral panic, moreover, were mainly the last wave of Kurdish migrants, who themselves experienced the effects of poverty and exclusion as the new inhabitants of this declining city.3 Thus, Hu¨seyin C¸apkın’s project of restructuring the police to fight crime in the city was a timely intervention for the city dwellers, who understood the problems in the city in relation to poor Kurdish migrants. Below, I document the elements of these transformations based on the interviews, participant observations and documents provided by the Izmir Police Department.

Restructuring the Public Order Police Formation of New Units In one of the first media statements of the newly appointed police chief, C¸apkın announced the formation of one of the new patrol units, Huzur Timleri (Peace Teams) as a part of the Public Order Police. There would also be others: Asayis¸ Ekipleri (Public Order Teams), Okul Polisi (School Police) and Toplum Destekli Polis (Community Police), each organized for expanding police power over different aspects of everyday life, and each incorporating novel strategies for dealing with criminality and creating order in the city. The Peace Teams would specifically deal with kapkac and other petty theft in the streets. Not all streets (that would be the responsibility of Public Order Teams), but crowded and busy areas in the city, such as bazaars, shopping malls, and hospital corridors constituted their responsibility, since these places were abundant with opportunities for theft. They were chaotic areas with easy escape routes. The Peace Teams in turn were strategically assigned to be



working on-foot to be equally present in these areas. Only in some cases they were mobile; they drove scooter motorcycles. The Peace Teams were an undercover police strategy and its units were composed of plainclothes officers. According to the official document provided by the Izmir Public Order Police Department, the officers ‘dress[ed] according to the cultural, social and even the economic code of their work areas.’4 They did not have to abide by the strict police dress code, for example, hairstyle and beard. In some cases they camouflaged themselves as shop owners, street peddlers, or repairmen. Units with motorcycles were mostly dressed as pizza boys or delivery persons. Nonetheless they carried pepper spray, handcuffs, pocket batons, and headphone radio devices, as well as cell-phones provided by a private phone-line company.5 Undercover policing is not an innovation of the Izmir police, however it was mostly used in political policing and high profile cases in Turkey. C¸apkın’s Peace Teams institutionalized the use of undercover police at the street level. Moreover, units similar to Peace Teams were put in practice in other cities as well, as mentioned in the previous chapter (e.g. Yıldırım and Gu¨ven Teams of the Preventive Police Subdivision of EGM). C¸apkın himself had already utilized similar strategies during his terms in Bursa and Adana. The Peace Teams were designed to be flexible and effective units against street crime. Effectiveness meant not just resolving petty crimes, but also catching criminals in the act, thus ensuring that they would be punished. As C¸apkın informed the press, plainclothes Peace Police would oversee without being visible: ‘On catching sight of an officer, a mugger naturally flees. It is important to detect the criminal before the criminal sees the police.’6 The aim of the project was to create a police organ that could ‘catch criminals in the act and seize the object of crime, and thus eliminate victimization.’7 The flexibility, on the other hand, meant two things simultaneously: the ability to move fast in the urban space and not be fixed in uniforms that increase their public visibility. Particularly around busy areas, the Rapid Action Units also supported the Peace Teams. The Rapid Action Units were militarized units for the policing of public events and demonstrations.8




But, C¸apkın transferred some of Izmir’s Rapid Action Units to the policing of common crimes in cooperation with the Peace Teams and the Public Order Units. In important operations against organized crime and when the other units required support, the Rapid Action Units would be called on duty. The presence of the Rapid Action Units, according to local newspapers, have been quite effective in the fight against kapkac. A newspaper made an account of this success: ‘The public order incidences have fallen drastically. Patrol operations conducted by the Rapid Action Units and their hasty interventions there is a reduction in incidences such as kapkac and theft.’9 The same article also suggested that the Rapid Action Units in Kemaraltı – the downtown shopping district – were also supporting the fight against the street vendors and ‘shouters’ (cıg˘ırtkan) that municipality police dealt with. This way, Izmir’s poor informal sector workers alongside its criminals were placed under the jurisdiction of a highly militarized and politicized police force. The idea was to reduce the victimization of ‘respectable citizens’, either by crime or by visible signs or cacophony and chaos in the public space. The Rapid Action Units were not the central part of the new structure of the Izmir Public Order Police. Nonetheless, their utilization implied allocation of increasing levels of police force for the non-violent crimes and public order related incidents. The Peace Teams, as one of the primary elements in that scheme, were also recognized as a successful intervention in the fight against street crime. The overall success of the Peace Teams was measured through the reduction of kapkac incidents. According to a police captain, in the period prior to the establishment of the Peace Teams, there was a sharp decline from an average of 70– 80 incidents in crowded centres to merely two or three per day.10 He elaborated on the achievement: ‘In Kemeraltı, even though there used to be more than 100 theft incidents such as pick pocketing, today with 10 teams (20 personnel) and the eager help of shop owners, there have been no incidents in the last Ramadan eve,’11 normally the peak days of petty theft in this central shopping area. C¸apkın also provided statistics about the work of the new teams in an interview after his first year in Izmir:



When we took our position, the number of kapkac incidents in Izmir was about 250 a day; now this number has fallen down to average of only 1 a day. After all, today there is only one incident of extortion. The most eventful day does not have more than 2 – 3. We can say confidently that the crime of kapkac no more exist among the concerns of this city. The number of thefts that was about 600–650 is no more than 60– 85 today. That means it is 10 times less than before. There was also national recognition. One of the popular mainstream news columnists celebrated C¸apkın’s undercover police in a sentimental depiction of the Peace Teams: Those sell lottery tickets, phone cards, hair cobs at ‘crowded streets’ such as Atatu¨rk and C¸akmak . . . Young girls who watch passers-by in front of goldsmiths and tutoring centres . . . Those playing games in coffeehouses or selling corn, simit, s¸algam on the street . . . We learned that they are ‘mostly police’.12 The operations of the Peace Teams did not only rest on on-foot patrolling but also profiling of the repeat criminals as described by a juvenile court judge in Izmir.13 For example, in the court proceeding of a mugging case I attended, the judge started to talk about the general condition of crime and juvenile criminals. He said he was dealing with repeat criminals, and the girl in our case was one of them. These kids, in his experience, were impossible to stop, because their legal status as children gave them partial immunity in the criminal justice system. According to him, adults were manipulating them into engaging in criminal business. But, at least the work of the Peace Teams was effective in preventing the victimization. He explained that it was two officers from the Peace Teams who had caught the girl as she was stealing the purse. This was not a coincidental event moreover. The judge explained that the Peace Teams working in specific areas had already detected about eighty children who were repeatedly involved in crimes in Izmir. Once repeat juvenile criminals were detected, they were put under




surveillance by the Peace Teams’ officers. In the areas they worked, the teams followed kids. The judge was very pleased with the work of these new units: ‘They are working to reduce victimization of the respectable citizens like you’, he said with an air of camaraderie. The prevention of victimization of ‘respectable citizens’ was an important organizing element of the new public order policing. Yet, ‘respectable citizens’ were not just to be protected but incorporated in the policing practices. The Peace Teams’ operations rested on their collaboration with the wider community. The teams were to introduce themselves to, and establish relations with, the shop and business owners as well as the officials and security personnel of the establishments that were located within their responsibility areas. Before they even started to patrol the area, they were asked to get in touch with citizens. Each member of the teams was provided with personal business cards that included their contact information in case of witnessing an incident. According to the interviews with Peace Teams’ captains, the officers acquired significant information about criminal incidents this way. In case of an incident, citizens could reach the police without having to go through the slow bureaucracy and unresponsiveness of the police station. In the face of low crime reporting levels in Turkey, this was an important tactic that could increase the police effectiveness. What was at stake here was a more in depth incursion into the urban space by engaging nonpolice actors in the policing process, while at the same time to developing relations of trust with the public. The legitimacy of the police would be achieved, even if only among those who were personally integrated into the policing processes. Making use of the citizens also meant that the police force could externalize some of its responsibility. One of the other newly established units, Community Police, were mainly aimed at easing the operations of the police by outsourcing its responsibility of the citizens.14 The project was not fully functioning at the time of research and remained an experiment. One of its tasks was to take an educational role to prevent victimization of the respectable citizens. Mostly targeting middle class women, the Community Police in Izmir organized information sessions and prepared fliers about how to



protect oneself, and what kind of precautions could be taken against the criminals. In addition, community police officers wore less formal uniforms and would try to establish better community relations in the neighbourhoods, including overseeing the problems of the area and inform the necessary governmental agencies to solve them. The transfer of the police responsibility onto other agencies, including the citizens, is a new technique of neoliberal governmentality. The neoliberal state increasingly externalizes its function of providing security to non-state actors. Private policing and community police, private prisons and security companies are among such non-state security actors in the neoliberal era. While in Turkey, community policing has been very recent and limited in its scope, private security as a non-state security organ has been a growing sector since the passing of the law on private security.15 Today, there are 1,113 private security firms in Turkey, employing about 240,000 security personnel. By the end of 2007, the total number of weapons this private security army possessed reached over 35,000.16 In the new policing strategy, the Izmir Public Order Police was becoming increasingly present in dealing with the crime related problems. Police started not only to directly engage in activities for the prevention of crime or eliminating signs of crime, it also began to intervene in potential problems or criminal elements in the elementary school system through the introduction of the School Police. The School Police were another plainclothes unit that worked in cooperation with the school management. While outside of every school a police patrol would be present on school days to prevent drug dealers and ‘thugs’ from hanging around students, the School Police were involved in the internal affairs of the schools. They, with the cooperation of the school management, investigated those students who created problems, or those who were suspected of engagement in criminal activities or the creation of problems of violence within the boundaries of school. Criminalization of the disruptive students and policing of the schools requires more research before we can make any claim here. Nevertheless, the School Police




serve as an example of the expansion of police over the lives of Izmirlis. The Izmir police, by inventing new areas of intervention, increased its presence and hold on the everyday life of the citizens. In some cases, this did not just rest on the police themselves but a systematic engagement with ‘respectable citizens’ to fight criminality and disorder. The new units were both a means to increase effectiveness and share responsibility with non-police actors to expand police power over the city. In that, they signified a more fundamental transformation in the ways in which urban policing took place in Turkey. From police stations to the Public Order Teams The new units mentioned above constitute and expose the new mentality of the reform in policing: more cooperation with ‘respectable citizens’, more presence in the public space and problem areas, and extensive involvement in fighting street crimes as well as in eliminating other signs of disorder. Nonetheless, it was the formation of the Public Order Teams that signified a comprehensive and transformative shift in public order policing. Traditionally, the police stations, which are located in the districts and neighbourhoods, are tasked with patrolling their neighbourhoods and dealing with criminal events. Since the formation of the modern police force in the Ottoman Empire during the mid-nineteenth century, police stations have functioned as the headquarters of a police force assigned to a specific district. They performed both the administrative as well as general policing functions. They were the units closest to the street level and the public. The patrol functions were also under their responsibility. However, the organization of patrols was unsystematic and discontinuous. The proximity of police stations to the public was an important aspect of their access to everyday life, to their control over space. But this also opened them to the daily observation of the citizens. That is why the police stations have been one of the sources for the crisis of the police, as I have discussed in the previous chapter. Corruption, violence and ineffectiveness on the part of police members were observed by the community, which the station was policing.



With the rise in crime, the attack against police stations due to their incapacity and inability to respond to the problems of crime increased. The station was fixed; crime moved fast. The police station was an inert bureaucratic unit; crime was a dynamic element of the streets. The equipment was insufficient and out-dated. The police cars were mostly old, and the fuel, limited. The police officers were unwilling to take risks or work much, and they were well entrenched in the power relations of their district through the captains under which they served. The public did not receive service, but instead was continuously victimized in their engagement with the police. The police stations produced many stories of victimization even for those who were already victimized by crime. The police stations thus signified the general condition of the security forces in the public eye: corrupt, out-dated, and inept. The rise of crime emphasized the public distrust in the police, who – at the neighbourhood-level – existed as the police station. As such, the crime victimization has come to be expressed through the corruption and ineffectiveness visible at the police station. In fact, before the crime discourse had reached its peak, stations were seen as weak sites of police power. The station was an archaic institution unable to respond to the changing times. One of the police interviewees at the EGM expressed the need to change the functions of the police stations: The police stations are places, which take preventive measures before the crime takes place, the first point of reference in case of victimization, and the place where judicial processes start. Nowadays, they are only doing the last one. Due to the growth of population in the cities and migration, the police stations are no more sufficient.17 For that reason, the General Directorate’s APK (Research and Planning Division) department developed a project for establishing ‘advanced or reinforced police centres’.18 The reasons for transforming the police stations were explained in a circular letter in 1993:




‘POLICE STATIONS’ are institutions, which work for the provision of order, peace and security in areas with low population density and during times of low responsibility through their in-site and patrol services. However, today, due to insufficient personnel, equipment, and problems of location, they have turned into bureaucratic application centres after crime takes place.19 Provincial offices responded to the circular letter with suggestions, most of them demanding more personnel, equipment and resources.20 Yet, the project did not fully come into place. At the time of the research, 40 police stations were reinforced with new technologies and were modernized, while only ten new large police centres were established in different cities.21 For the headquarters, it was more about a technological upgrading than an all-encompassing reform project that sought to alter shortcomings and failures of the police. Except for reinforcing some police stations and building new ones, the police stations did not experience a radical transformation. The police stations in Izmir were no different, neither in practice nor in the public perception. Reinforcing the technologies of the police station was only a partial solution to the crisis of legitimacy. The formation of Izmir Public Order Units implied recognition of the need for a more structural change in re-establishing the authority of the police that could respond to the problem of crime and the security demands of the public. For a more effective and comprehensive fight against common crimes, and for establishing public order, while gaining the trust of the public, C¸apkın introduced the Public Order Teams. The formation of the Public Order Teams was to alter the function of the police stations. The new units were designed to undertake the patrolling and public order policing functions from the police stations. In this way, the stations were to be reduced to administrative and judicial functions. The personnel numbers in the stations were reduced. Some of their personnel were selected for the new Public Order Police Teams. In the new division of police work, Public Order Teams were designed to patrol, while the police station personnel



were left to handle the bureaucratic functions. The efficient use of time of the patrols was ensured through a reduction in the bureaucratic paperwork. The teams did do some administrative tasks. They carried with them a portfolio, including documents and written records, as well as documents related to law of misdemeanours in print form. The older officers along with the ‘less successful’ were left with the ‘boring’ paperwork, and in turn, had less potential for promotion.22 Disinterest and unwillingness with respect to paperwork is a common attitude among police forces. Through their fieldwork with the police in Los Angeles, Ericson and Haggerty explain the perceptions of police about their work: Underlying police culture talk about paper burden is a belief that the police should be spending their time doing better things. If only the police had less paperwork and were only involved in knowledge production, the story goes; they would do a better job of policing. The sentiment is grounded in the view that knowledge work is the secondary or residual reporting of events, not the ‘real’ work of the dealing with the events themselves . . . The referent for ‘real’ police work is crime work.23 Stripped of most of the bureaucratic work, the Peace and the Public Order Teams, after seizing a suspect, transfer the person to a police station. Other than the written record of the proceedings they do not further involve themselves in other judiciary matters, thus returning to the street hastily, as attested to in the official documents of the Izmir police.24 Like their counterparts in Los Angeles, the Izmir police partly located police ineffectiveness in the workload of bureaucratic tasks. Thus by removing this so-called ‘donkeywork’ from the patrol officers’ responsibilities, the Public Order Teams’ time could be spared for more ‘important’ things. Both the Peace Teams and Public Order Teams were also freed of their other noncriminal police work. Apart from their regular duties, police officers were normally expected to perform security functions during concerts, sports events – especially soccer matches – as well as




press-release events. These operations were also left largely to the officers working at the stations. In turn, the main role of the new teams was to keep the urban space under constant surveillance and reinstate the police authority, this way establishing order in the city. The Public Order Teams were not under the command of the police stations, but were organized as a part of the Directorate of Security and its new Public Teams Headquarters. The headquarters were either newly constructed or modified from already existing police stations large enough for the new elements and equipment of the teams’ operations. Taking over some of the functions of the police stations, the headquarters of Public Order Teams (shortly referred to as Teams’ Headquarters) were assigned to larger responsibility areas. The nine districts of Izmir were reorganized and divided into five headquarters. The size and proximity of districts, the density of their populations and crime rates, were taken into consideration in drawing new responsibility areas of the headquarters. The headquarters of the Public Order Teams were established in Bornava, Balc ova, Kars¸ıyaka, Konak, and Buca, all responsible for the surrounding districts of their respective locations. The establishment of headquarters provided a central command system to coordinate the operations of the Public Order Teams. According to the police, the number of headquarters should be determined according to the size and population of the city. While in big cities such as Izmir, five to 15 team headquarters would be required, in small cities, a single headquarter could coordinate all Public Order Teams. In the case of Bursa, where the previous experiment of Public Order Teams had taken place, there was a single teams’ headquarter. The division of responsibility areas in this sense is not made according to the number of districts in a particular city. According to the police, such a division would decrease the effectiveness in following the movements of criminals among districts in close proximity.25 Once the suspect passed on to the next district the need to form effective communication with that district headquarters would arise. Instead, by putting close districts under the same headquarters’ responsibility, the Izmir police aimed to have a greater control over the space. Moreover, if the headquarters were to



be assigned at the district level the autonomy of the Public Order Teams would be limited by other district authorities, as police captains admitted.26 The Public Order Teams were not connected to district authorities but directly to the Chief, as a new subdivision within the Izmir Public Order Police. At fırst sight, the public order headquarters looked like a big district station. There was no standard in terms of police stations, however aside from generic equipments and rooms of a standard police station, teams’ headquarters had important additions. For example, there were meeting rooms, a control room, as well as a room holding various screens linked to the CCTV cameras implanted at key points in the streets.27 The Public Order Teams, which were directed by the headquarters, were mobile units equipped with new technologies and resources to control the city and expand the police authority. The cars were all newly introduced; instead of old Renaults, Megan brand cars that had a ‘higher carrier body, air-conditioner and lockup fit out’ were being used. Each patrol car included rapid action police batons, hand radios, pepper sprays, and torches, sufficient for the number of officers assigned to the cars.28 The number of police vehicles was doubled for a faster and effective service, while the gas budget had been increased as the budgetary limits were among the obstacles that worked against patrol units’ movements in the city. Achieving territorial authority over the city, first of all, required continuous presence in the streets. This meant a division of labour between the stations and patrol teams, as well as a division of labour between 250 patrol teams, each with three police officers. These teams were assigned to specific areas and neighbourhoods within the district they operated in.29 As mentioned in the previous section, the introduction of the Teams had aimed to increase patrol functions of the police, so as to render the police more visible and effective over the urban space. While the Peace Teams operated undercover at particular areas of the city, the Public Order Teams were to be present everywhere. Thus, the teams would be well entrenched in the urban space. In that, they also had a greater command over the areas they work




through accumulation of particular knowledge about the criminal dynamics and criminogenic factors of the area. ‘This way, they understood the dynamics of the area, and succeeded in catching perpetrators in the act through analysing the crimes in the area.’30 Thus policing was not simply about patrolling and controlling, but also gathering knowledge about the subject of control. As Foucault’s concept of knowledge/power pertains, control is not simply about use of force, but about the application of power through accessing the knowledge of the populations. The Public Order Teams were directed to engage in the areas not only by observing from their car, but also by establishing informational links with the citizens in their areas. Through both spatial surveillance mechanisms, and formal and informal interactions with the populations the police distinguished which areas were crime-prone, what spaces were ‘dangerous’, who was involved in crime, who was helpful to the police, and who questioned its authority. Such information would direct the police behaviour and ease its operations. The expansion of the police authority over the urban space meant getting out of the police station and a more continuous presence through increased patrol capacity of the police. Additional cars and fuel capacity were important elements in this expansion over the space. But, to have a central control over the space would not be possible without the integration of the GPS (Global Positioning System) into the patrol cars. The GPS system also allowed overseeing the public order units, and in this way the headquarters were fully involved in the patrolling of the urban space. As Newburn argues, urban space is increasingly controlled through ‘new security networks’.31 Installing a CCTV camera system in Izmir was also a part of the project of territorial policing of the urban space. CCTV systems in Turkey are a part of the MOBESE project (Mobile Electronic System Integration) of the TNP since 2005. MOBESE, the new ‘urban information and security system’, utilizes surveillance cameras to oversee the urban space. It aims to increase the surveillance capacity of the police. According to a local newspaper in Izmir, approximately 200 MOBESE cameras were put on 100 streets, avenues, and corners.32 The police observed images of



the cameras from the ‘MOBESE rooms’ of the Public Order Headquarters. As one of the team captains expressed, they were not really effective in solving or preventing crime. Nonetheless, alongside the patrol units, they were a part of the strategy to control the urban space.33 Moreover, with the GPS system, each Public Order Team was watched closely from the headquarters. The GPS in the cars allowed the headquarters to locate and follow patrol cars by way of a gadget inserted in them. A control room in the headquarters was spared a large screen placed on the wall, which showed a digitalized map of the city in changeable scales. The screen showed the position, movement, speed and duration of stops of each team over a digital map in real time. On the map, one could view the movement of patrol cars projected as red, green, and blue points with numbers signifying the specific patrol teams. Colours, on the other hand, exposed the time-movement of the cars. Blue signified a moving patrol car, also visible on the map in real time. Green was for patrol cars which had stopped and remained at the same point for up to 10 minutes, and red was used for those who had been in the same position for about 30 minutes. Officers in the room viewed the screen and directed the movement of teams according to the information flows about specific cases. By visually locating the teams, their proximity to a situation allowed the observer to know exactly which team to send to a crime scene. During the pursuit of criminals coordination between the teams would be achieved much more effectively. This considerably reduced the arrival time at the location of the incident, to barely 3 – 5 minutes. Especially in case of a need for reinforcement, other teams in the area could be transferred without too much effort at communication. The system was also used for less important needs such as finding addresses in an unfamiliar area.34 The cars were not supposed to take breaks as often as they like. Thus, a red colour warned the person in the control room to contact the team and ask for a valid reason for their wait. If there was none, they were ordered to keep on driving. In the control room, there were at least two officers. They functioned as liaisons between the screen and the officers in the patrol cars. They directed patrols in responding




to particular reported cases, finding addresses, following suspects, cooperating on the field. The Public Order Teams’ use of GPS system, in this respect, was a strategy to increase territorial power as well as effectiveness of the police.35 At the same time, the new police power was not as arbitrary as it used to be. The former police practices depended on the police officers’ willingness and discretion to intervene in the criminal situations or to investigate crimes. Various different reasons and calculations went into decisions about engaging the suspects. Talking of the effect of the GPS system that eased the sending in of reinforcements in a short period of time, a public order team’s officer mentioned his new confidence while intervening in the situations. He described his prior experience as a station police officer as fearful: I was living in Narbel and had to take the bus through I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨. When I was in uniform I felt threatened, and since most of the neighbourhood’s bums knew me, it was even scary to walk without it. Once, I was attacked. But now, if I need assistance, I know that in five minutes the teams will be present.36 The GPS system and the digital maps also provided a disciplinary mechanism in controlling and directing the police officers, who otherwise were hard to follow. Except for the walkie-talkie equipment in the cars, tracking the police officers in patrol proved to be extremely difficult. The new control mechanisms of the police officers were not exclusively momentary. The GPS system automatically recorded each patrol team’s movement. The computer program that integrated the data about the movements of patrol cars allowed the captains to refer to the prior records of the patrol cars and the teams which used that particular car. The data was kept for a couple of months for two main reasons: first was to keep track of the important events, in case of a need for revisiting. Secondly, it was used in the personnel evaluation of the police officers, which I will be explaining in depth below. In addition, retroactive data, as one of the captains of the Public Order Teams claimed, could also be used in



investigating police brutality cases. By tracking a particular team’s movements in the city, the claims could be checked, at least partially. Even though the system could not provide the whole account of the team’s undertaking, it could provide information about time and place for a particular patrol car. He gave an example in order to explain this kind of use of the GPS system: In Kars¸ıyaka, a shop owner claimed that after he had closed his grocery and was having a drink with couple of friends a public order team arrived and started a quarrel. The shop-owner later on accused the police of beating him. So we know the place and time of the alleged event. We checked it in the system, and at the time our team was somewhere else.37 This information was however not publicized or officially announced to related actors. The human rights branch of the Izmir Bar Association, for instance, was informed of neither the extent of the GPS system nor its possible uses for unveiling brutality cases.38 In short, the GPS system allowed for the surveillance of the streets from a central point, the control room, at the Public Order Teams headquarters. Reinforced with CCTV surveillance capacity and the GPS system, the territorial power of the police was expanded. But, what was necessary to operate the new system of policing was to make sure that Public Order Teams were working eagerly. The very techniques that sought to achieve more effective workings of the street police were also mechanisms of controlling and overseeing their movements. The GPS system allowed locating the position as well as the movements/immobility of the police cars, and thus the police officers. These were recorded in a computerized system of punishments/rewards measuring the performance of its personnel connected to a larger scheme of performance evaluation, which will be examined in the next section. Control and management of police officers A central element of the restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police was the introduction of personnel evaluation for both the new




Public Order Teams and the Peace Teams. To make sure that the police officers were working, new managerial practices were put in effect. The organization of the patrol schedules and responsibility areas for the new teams was an important part of the management practices, mainly conducted by the police captains at the teams’ headquarters. Each Public Order team, for instance, who was assigned to a particular area at a particular time, was responsible for the activities they were engaged in, and were accountable for any crime problems that could not be resolved or prevented. This system of accountability, however, was made possible not only by a recording of work time and place, but with a detailed recording of the performance of the teams. The evaluation of the Public Order Team officers was made through a strict point system. The achievements and failures of the police officers as team members were measured through the activities they were involved in. The teams received points for the suspects they caught, and lost points when their responsibility areas exhibited high crime without visible signs of police accomplishment concerning that particular problem. Accomplishments were generally measured through the capture of a suspect. The more important the crime of the suspect, the higher the points they received. Importance of crime was moreover dependent on different considerations. Legally defined differentiations of crime were important. For instance, catching a murder suspect meant higher points than a capturing a mugging suspect. A terror suspect was much more valuable to the department than a red-handed misdemeanour, or somebody who resisted police officers’ authority. Therefore, the points received reflected such comparisons. Yet, apart from the legal measures, local considerations affected the determination of points. If, in a certain area, criminal activity was mainly centred on drug related offenses and less on robbery, then a suspect of a drug offence would bring about higher points to the officers. As local determinants change over time, the points were also subject to change, and the calibrations of point distribution were revised accordingly. If during a specific period, car-battery thefts rose in a specific area, any action that provided a solution to that problem received higher points. Thus, the list of



points changed according to time and space as well as the criminogenic features of the responsibility areas of the patrol teams.39 The table below was used in one of the Izmir Public Teams personnel evaluation: Balc ova. Each headquarter had its own distribution system with respect to the local determinants and conditions of crime mentioned above, so the table can only be exemplary. Yet, it speaks of the grading of crimes in the particular context of the locality in which the teams were working. For instance, in the jurisdiction of the Balc ova Headquarters, there was a recent rise of theft committed under the guise of garbage collectors, using garbage carts as a way to hide and carry the articles they stole. However, the points are not given only when the stolen items were found in the garbage carts. Instead, when the police seized any informal garbage cart, they received three points. This signified a particular way in which substances were to be criminalized through a point performance system, or ‘bonus system’ as it was commonly referred to.40 National social and political context also reflected the grading of activities and priorities of the Balc ova police. Seizure of a terror or murder suspect received the highest points; while the arrest sexual harassment suspect had almost the same value as capturing a pirate CD stand. Catching a kapkac suspect was far more important than unregistered gun possession, or someone wanted for stabbing or injury. This grading did not necessarily follow the criminal law, which also engaged in the grading of crimes and distribution of punishments. The perception of the police of what is strategically important was central in the grading of crimes, implying the socially constructed nature of crime. The police force, as a central actor in dealing with crime, distributes its resources and defines its priorities. The table of distribution of points, in this respect, is not a rupture in the logic of police practices. However, in its systemized definition and calculation of daily police activities, it departs from other ways in which crimes and police practices were graded by the TNP. The ‘bonus system’ provided the Izmir police with a template of actions to take, and priorities to spend their energies on.




The Public Order Teams officers’ promotions were largely dependent upon their performance evaluation history. Those who were successful in a consistent manner would be able to ask for their promotion in a more desirable and specialized police division, such as the terror subdivision. The failed officers, in turn, would be relocated to less active positions, perhaps the police stations. The Peace Police also were offered promotion upon their persistent success. However, the ‘bonuses’ they received came mostly in the form of presents or donations made by small businesses: gold coins, cinema or theatre tickets, etc. were given out to motivate the officers. The point distributions would provide the roadmaps for the police officers as they differentiated between the strategically important crimes and the less important ones. Yet, a list of points alone would not be able to professionally manage the police officers and transfer the strategies of the new policing into the practices of the officers. The personnel meetings in which the assessment of personnel evaluation took place also provided the opportunity do so. The Peace Teams gathered as a whole unit, once every month. The Public Order Teams, on the other hand, met at their own headquarters more often, twice a month.41 Both teams’ meetings provided a venue for professional assessment and announcement of the awards and awardees. These professional assessments also created opportunity to talk about criminal acts, recent developments and changes in the profiles of criminals, as well as particular crime cases. Thus, two important themes dominated the meetings: crime and policing. The discussion of crime was about the general trends and particular problems, criminals or crimes. The sources of the discussion were varied: prior police investigative work, complaints, citizen’s letters, e-mails, new stories, video clips from surveillance cameras, MOBESE images, photos, identity information, and so forth. This was truly a criminology making and profiling of criminals. The materials were brought together by the captains and their assistants and mostly screened. For instance, at the Konak Public Order Team’s meeting, the captain presented a new criminal profile based on reported events and a surveillance camera taken from

Missing Person (2) points

Misdemeanours (2) points

Sequestered Car seizure (2) points

Wanted for Gambling (5) points

Wanted for Theft (5) points

Wanted for Pick Pocketing (5) points

Wanted for Stabbing and Injury (5) points

Wanted by Enforcement and GBT (5) points

Unregistered Gun Possession (8) points

Teams Intervening in the Incidents (7) points

Gambling Machines and Gamble Seizure (6) points

Illegal substance addict (6) points

Narcotic Drugs (10) points

Pick pocketing (10) points

Redhanded thief (10) points

Mugging (12) points

Arson (12) points

Extortion (12) points

Injuring by Weapon (12) points

Injuring by Stabbing Suspect (12) points

Balc ova Public Order Teams Headquarters, Points Distribution List42

Unregistered Car (2) points

Abandoned Stolen Car (2) points

Pirate CD/ Parking (2) points

Table 4.1 No incidents in the precinct (10) points

Terror Suspect (20) points

Murder Suspect (20) points

2 –3 points

Sexual Harassment Suspect (3) points

Garbage Cart (3) points

Person Wanted by Precinct Police Station (1) points

Table 4.1: continued

5 points

Wanted for Undeclared of Property (5) points

Wanted for Counterfeit Money (5) points

6 –8 points

Counterfeit Money Suspects (8) points

Illegal Drugs (8) points

10 points

12 points

10 points

20 points



a goldsmith. The clip apparently showed a family of three, a woman, man and a little girl. While the woman chatted up one of the shopkeepers, the man tried to change the bills he was holding, tricking the goldsmith into giving the change without receiving the money. The suspects were Georgian immigrants and as the captain posited: ‘We are not saying that all Georgians are thieves but be careful when you see them. Men engage in these kinds of activities nowadays.’ Similarly, one of the captains in the Peace Teams meeting described a recent upsurge in a form of pick pocketing (kaldırımcılık), where the thief takes the belongings of an inattentive person from a chair at an outdoor cafe. The captains distributed pictures of repeat offenders who were out in the streets. The ID information of the repeat offenders as little fliers were also given away to the officers. The officers took notes during the meetings. In some cases printouts were distributed to the representatives of the teams with particular information about the suspects. The meetings were places for professional discussion, an avenue of defining the criminal and suspect categories and a commentary on the police behaviour, especially the proper use of force. The meetings also provided a coherent collective consciousness and not just common sense. They restated the principles and operations of the department. The personnel evaluation of the police officers that were a part of the new units was an important tool to make sure that they worked according to the strategies of the Izmir Police Department. As these meetings exemplify, the restructuring of the Izmir police was not simply about adding new units and technologies that would enhance the public relations of the police, thus contributing to its legitimate power though its modernization and its fight against crime. The reform and restructuring indicated a new form of policing in the making. While it sought to form better relations with the public and to constitute a more disciplined and effective police force in the streets, it also aimed to refine the strategies of policing of common crimes, to be a disciplinary institution for city’s ‘problem populations’, and a protective agency for the ‘respectable citizens’.




Strategies of the Izmir Public Order Police Zero-tolerance in Izmir The logic that the new policing scheme put in place through the restructuring was conceptualized as a preventive policing model. Preventive policing denotes the policing techniques that prevent crime before it actually takes place. In Izmir, as conducted by Public Order Teams, preventive policing was defined quite aggressively: ‘Before an incident takes place, teams perform preventive ID checks and enforcements on people in parks and gardens, desolate areas, and avenues and streets where crime is concentrated.’43 Thus preventive policing required both profiling of the suspect persons as well as a strict control over the streets. The preventive policing was already established as the priority of public order policing by the EGM.44 During the introduction of Yıldırım and Gu¨ven Teams, Internal Minister Osman Gu¨nes¸ had remarked: We are obliged to facilitate our citizens’ convenience, and provide better levels of peace and security conditions through focusing on preventive policing services. Our residential areas should be made secure for living in peace. For this reason it is of the utmost importance to focus our energies on preventive policing services. The project of Yıldırım and Gu¨ven teams is developed to this end.45 The General Directorate’s statement also emphasized the preventive functions of the police: In various western countries, 90 per cent of the police work is composed of preventive services and operations. The prevention of crime is much more important when we take into account the irrecoverable damage the crime does to the individual and the society.46 In 2002, a subdivision of Public Order Police department, named Preventive Policing was established. This unit was composed of



patrol units, automobiles, motorcycles and bikes. One of the wellknown elements of the new Preventive Policing Subdivision nationwide was the motorcycle team, named Dolphins (Yunus Polisi). The police centres, preventive police units and motorcycle units together composed the new preventive policing scheme of the EGM. These units operated both through conducting ID checks and patrolling the city, during which stop and search of the suspect populations took place. The suspects, according to a police captain at the Preventive Policing subdivision, were mainly ‘bad looking guys’ in groups of four or five according to the sociological dynamics of the area. EGM personnel did not have a systematic definition to clarify the ‘suspect’ category, but mentioned the discretion of the police in detecting the suspects. The strategies of the preventive policing were composed mainly of stop and search operations of the ‘reasonable suspects’, and patrolling of those areas. As an important part of the preventive policing the same captain in the subdivision proposed the elimination of the habitats where ‘criminal populations’ live: ‘It is necessary to cooperate with the municipalities in policing of those areas, and better yet demolish the areas where criminals inhabit, and let TOKI˙ dissipate the shanties.’47 The amelioration of the ghetto areas would be a part of the police work, as in the US, the interviewee added, because: ‘If you push a crime from certain area, crime moves to a different area. The need is to fully dry the crime, so more radical solutions are needed.’48 However, they were also trying to establish more systemic profiling at the SAM (Strategic Research Centre), in addition to ‘information collected from the citizens, media, and informant networks.’ SAM was established in 2006 as a EU – TNP cooperative project for producing ‘scientific’ knowledge on crime and criminality in the Turkish police. It was a small unit composed of a police captain and young university graduates with statistics and computer engineering degrees.49 Social network analyses, geographical crime analyses through GIS systems, risk maps, AFIS (photography and finger print database unification) were being produced. SAM was mainly devoted to composition and interpretation of data on crime




events and criminals so as to develop a profiling system for the TNP. Besides the criminologists whom the police had been working with, SAM’s operations also included cooperative projects with universities especially for technical aspects of analysis of the data. For instance, Middle East Technical University and Sabancı University worked on the visual analysis as explained during the interviews. While the process of creating its database was still ongoing, SAM had already introduced a unified reporting and recording of incidents for police units around the country. Nonetheless, as this reporting scheme was not yet obligatory, the captain explained, the statistical information was neither reliable nor complete. Moreover, there was no work on criminal profiling. He pointed to the profiling in Izmir as an exemplary practice that should be adopted in the rest of the country.50 The ways in which preventive policing was applied in Izmir proved much more systematic and thorough. It was a creative adoption of zero-tolerance policing first developed in the US. Zerotolerance policing rested on the broken windows theory, which was initially published in a 1982 issue of The Atlantic Monthly by Wilson and Kelling.51 The writers argued that signs of disorder in an area encourage criminal behaviour, thus policing of such disorderly behaviour reduces the future production of more serious crimes. The broken windows theory had two important claims: first, neglecting the policing of petty crimes would create a culture of law breaking. Thus, even the smallest law breaking activity should be put under control. Secondly, it argued that people start their criminal careers with small offences and progressively engage in more serious crimes. Therefore neglect at the beginning breeds more serious problems for the society.52 The quality of urban space as a central element in explaining criminality has been one of the most important claims of the Chicago School of criminology, also known as environmental criminology, heralded by the works of Shaw and McKay and others.53 Theirs was at first a study of territorial distribution of crime, which then posed questions of the relation between one’s environment and criminality. This had two consequences, defining criminal areas and constructing



cultural explanations of crime. According to the latter, the culture of poverty flourishes in specific environment, socializing people in that area into criminal behaviour.54 The broken windows theory’s roots can be found in these discussions, which find a seamless link between crime and the ‘unruly’ environment, between criminality and cultural signs and interactions. The broken windows theory claimed that disorderly spaces would be ‘[transmitting] a message to would be criminals: that this neighbourhood ripe for picking . . . ’.55 This theory has been openly embraced by Rudolph Giuliani and the former New York Police Chief William Bratton. It also constituted the foundation of New York’s ‘quality of life’ campaign that aimed to create an orderly city out of one that had been in the process of decay according to many. In the case of New York City, homelessness, vagrancy, prostitution, graffiti, and various kinds of misdemeanours that signalled disorder and invited criminal acts of a more serious nature were increasingly dealt with by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). To address the urban disorder, quality of life campaigns were launched in 1994, continued for two Giuliani administrations, and set the tone of the following administrations. Zero-tolerance policing was an important part in the ‘quality of life’ campaign. It represented an unrelenting attitude to crime, no matter the seriousness of it. No tolerance was to be given to small public order offences. On the contrary, they were specifically targeted. Misdemeanours, once seen as insignificant became the focus of the police. In this new strategy, aggressive use of stop-and-frisk operations, use of surveillance cameras, and fingerprinting allowed for a consolidation of criminal categories in New York City.56 This would in turn prevent criminality and reduce the sources of crime. It promised to eliminate criminal elements before, not after the crime takes place. This was also achieved through a systematic racial profiling and neighbourhood-based police offensive that criminalized particularly the urban poor populations of New York City.57 If it did not eliminate crime altogether, the consequences and effects of the zero-tolerance policing was radical on the racialized and dispossessed populations. McArdle explains:




The use of surveillance and an aggressive management of public space are crucial to New York City’s combined crime-control and order maintenance initiatives. The stop-and-frisk campaign of the Street Crime Unit, [ . . . ] is one of the more notorious ways in which NYPD occupies space. Running roughshod over the Fourth Amendment’s ban against unreasonable searches, Street Crime plainclothes officers reported stopping 45,000 persons to search for weapons in 1997 and 1998, and out of that number they arrested 9,500. A report issued in November 1999 [ . . . ] confirm that blacks in New York City were stopped six times more frequently, and Latinos four times more frequently than whites.58 In turn, these operations in New York City used more violence and created further brutality against the city’s poor racialized groups. They would also constitute the larger part of the incarcerated. During Giuliani’s two consecutive terms, the number of New Yorkers in federal and state prison facilities and populations grew rapidly. And, in conjunction with the police’s use of racial profiling, a large part of these populations came from poorer communities and ethno-racial minorities. Other police organizations inside, and outside, of the US followed the Giuliani administration’s successful model.59 The Izmir police under Hu¨seyin C¸apkın was also aware of New York’s great cleansing operations under the quality of life and zerotolerance policies. The restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police can be seen as an adaptation of zero-tolerance policing. If not officially, the term has been used at least informally in Izmir police circles. Explaining the new public policing strategies implemented through the establishment of Public Order Teams, the references to Giuliani and his ‘suc a sıfır tolerans’ – an exact translation of zerotolerance to crime – policies were not rare during my interviews and chats with the police members, as one suggested the common use of the term among the police in his description of new policing in Izmir: ‘We say zero-tolerance to crime, no crime is petty.’60



In the case of the Izmir police, especially compared to the former practices of ignoring insignificant cases while not recording, pursuing and putting them to justice, this was a great shift. Unofficial statistics presented to me during interviews showed a rapid rise in the number of events they were engaged in, compared to six months prior to the formation of the new strategy. As the police qualified, ‘this [did] not indicate a rise in crime, but an increase in the interventions of the police.’61 According to the Izmir police, it showed the success and hard work of new police forces rather than its ineffectiveness and failure to reduce crime. Below is a statistical evaluation of one of the five headquarters in Izmir since the introduction of the Public Order Police Teams in June 2006. ‘Digging’ the streets and criminalization of ‘target populations’ The Izmir Public Order Police’s version of zero-tolerance policies was referred to as ‘digging’. It was a combination of profiling suspects and proactive policing that tried to bring criminals to light through the aggressive policing of suspect populations. One of the captains at the Peace Teams meeting was not satisfied with the performance of the teams the last few weeks as he put it. An officer shouted from the crowd: ‘It is not that we are slacking, but there is no incident.’ It was no excuse for the captain. He instructed them to ‘dig the streets’ with a warning: ‘We are not saying that you should create one if there is no event. But this is about digging. Digging has slowed down.’

Table 4.2

Operations of Balc ova District Public Teams Headquarters


Number of Incidents 145



Number of persons charged

Number of Incidents

Number of persons charged

Number of Incidents

Number of persons charged









The word ‘digging’ was repeated in other places many times. It was used to explain the new strategy of the police offensive in the street. One captain clarified ‘digging’ as a strategy in this address to the officers who were the active agents of the ‘digging’ in the streets: If you see the same suspects whom you know might be involved in any kind of crime, stop them and ask their IDs wherever you see them. Ask the next time you see them. If you leave your shift tell another team the whereabouts of those persons. Until they give up . . . In order to prevent common crime, they had to be fully engaged in the streets by being alert and investigative. The police had to be clear about what they were looking for and the suspect categories were evidently one of the most important resources for the ‘digging’ strategy. The ID checks were an important tool to find suspects, and Izmir police’s ‘digging’ strategy rested on continuous ID checks of the ‘target populations’. The GBT (General Information Gathering) system made available to the organization allowed a fast information gathering on the IDs. The GBT is an ID checking technology that the TNP has incorporated into its mechanisms in 2002. It composes the information on wanted persons, the profiles of criminal and suspect records of police and gendarme. The legal basis of GBT checks is the police’s right to ask the IDs of suspect persons as defined by the PVSK.62 When officers demand an inquiry, the ID information is transferred to officers at the Control Centres (Emniyet Komuta Merkezi). Within approximately 10 seconds, a check is completed through the use of POLNET (Police Network Project), which composes and continuously renews a nationwide record of individuals’ information.63 According to the officials, the information in the databases is constantly renewed according to the acquittal of charges. Yet, I˙nanıcı suggests otherwise: The information about the people under warrant is recorded in KI˙HBI˙/GBT databases. In addition, the subjective notes of the



police about the persons, which do not have any legal value, are also recorded here. Even though a person is acquitted of a political crime, the record is never erased from the database. What is more, intelligence even about the people about whom no criminal investigation exists, is also recorded. The GBT records that include ‘personal information’ are moreover are not accessible by those persons.64 In stopping to check for IDs, police’s intuitions and experience were very important: ‘When they see a criminal, they recognize them,’ a police captain claimed.65 When I asked about how they distinguish so easily, he confessed with a grin: ‘From the clothes, the looks, the behaviour.’66 Yet, the ‘instincts’ of the police could not be taken for granted. Nor were they enough to implement a coherent strategy of ‘digging’. The meetings at the headquarters, the feedback of performance meetings of new units, offered an avenue to clarify the particular features of the suspects. The visual images of specific suspects of crime derived from surveillance cameras, the photographs of repeat criminals who are back in the streets, as well as much general discussion about ‘target populations’ were all aimed at unifying and managing the police intervention at the street level. ‘Digging’ would be especially successful if the police engaged the ‘suspect persons’ of an area. The spatial knowledge about criminality acquired through patrolling neighbourhoods would form the practices of the police in those areas. The selection criteria of those to be ‘dogged’, that is the ‘target populations’, was consistently about the class positions of the citizens. Otherwise a ‘waste’ of resources would be inevitable: the captain in the Peace Teams meeting asked: ‘What can come out of a person you stop at the Alsancak beach?’ He accepted that there could also be elements of crime in the places like Alsancak, where the more prosperous and affluent live and hang out: ‘Yes, cocaine might come out. And you should act accordingly. Or a guy drives an expensive car and might have marijuana. This could happen. But what is the use of controlling the expensive cars?’ An implication of futility of such stops of affluent classes was hinted at throughout his speech. He continued to give




examples of signs by which officers could recognize the suspects: ‘What do you expect to find in disturbing university students, in groups of girls and boys, drinking beer on the lawns of Alsancak beach? You should detect the drinking bums and question them. Then you will find something.’ Another example he gave of the operations during the following week was to make it clear: ‘During a night shift around Basmane, 2 persons, one of them a kid, steals a bicycle from a gas station. A team catches these two kids and after the ID checks they realize one of them was wanted for seven different charges.’ The success here was to recognize the criminals and not just ignore the act of stealing the bike. The team could let the event go by, but went after the right persons, who fit the category of ‘target populations’. The ‘target populations’ according to another captain speaking in the Public Order Teams’ meeting was ‘not everybody like a Hitler logic, but thugs and psychopaths.’ What he meant by ‘Hitler logic’ was targeting and suspecting everyone without any differentiation. In line with this strategy, in Alsancak, a specific official order was put in place, which defined specifically, with whom the police should be targeting: Starting from 04 November 2006 Saturday, until a second order is issued, a comprehensive policy will be implemented at routes and locations as specified in the appendix, everyday during the hours 21:30– 02:00. Motorized units or on-foot patrols will be employed in the implementation . . . During this implementation, there will be a sensitive control over transvestite persons, prostitutes, homeless people,67 and gluesniffers, and those referred to as psychopaths and suspect vehicles . . . The people collected transvestite persons and prostitution-oriented ladies will transferred to Alsancak Police Station; while the other persons will be put to an ID check, those seen suspicious will also be transferred to the station and necessary procedures will be made there.68 We cannot confirm that such official documents were made available for all areas of the city. The document showed the project of cleansing



Alsancak. For the police working in other areas of the city, the personnel meetings served to clarify the categories of ‘target populations’. Profiling the ‘target populations’ sometimes referred to as ‘psychopaths’, was an integral part of the ‘digging’ strategy. Thus, the captain at the Public Order Teams meeting provided the definition of ‘psychopaths’: ‘They drink and cut themselves; they smoke and sell weed; they harm the society; they have criminal records; they are repeat criminals; they sniff glue; they are transvestites, prostitutes.’ The Izmir Public Order Police document, too, referred to ’target populations’ as psychopaths: In the preventive spatial operations of the teams, police officers repress especially addicts who use drugs (Marijuana, Pill, Glue, etc.) and potential repeat criminals with prior criminal record. Crime prevention was also provided through the ultimate exercise of their right to use of force with riot police batons and pepper spray on the persons – so as to say psychopaths – who resist the police.69 The ‘psychopaths’ and ‘thugs’ then, were the ‘target populations’. But who were they really? Except for a minor group of transvestites and prostitutes they were mostly male, in their 20s or younger. Their life stories were provided by the captain: ‘They go in and out of prison during their 20s. In their 30s they either forswear and abandon the criminal life, or continue their career as leaders of gangs, managing the younger criminals of their field rather than getting involved in petty acts themselves.’ ‘Psychopath’ at other times only defined those who actively resisted the police, and resort to ‘jackboot’, and used illegal substances. Criminalization is a quite effective means of a continuous uninterrupted control. Through characterizing a person as criminal, thus a threat to the peace and security of others, an unquestioned and quite autonomous space for the actions of the police is introduced. As a justification mechanism, this is used in different layers and elements of the police force. From the daily interactions




to the institutional reproduction of authority, presence of the criminal and crime allows for extending, congregating, and justifying the police power. The categorization of ‘target populations’ by the Izmir Police was also utilized to elaborate police power and use of force. Through criminalizing the suspect populations, the police were claiming ‘their right to use of force with riot police batons and pepper spray on the persons – so as to say psychopaths – who resist the police.’70 The link between the use of disproportionate force and the profiling ‘target populations’ could be observed during the police meetings. A newspaper clip was projected on the screen right at the beginning of the Peace Teams meeting I attended. It read: ‘They can’t get enough of beating.’71 It was a headline from a popular newspaper and the presenting captain asked: ‘Allegation or truth?’ A loud cluster of noise arose from the salon. The loudest ones got across their points: ‘Allegation!’ The noises slowed down when the superior started to go into the depths of the story more objectively: ‘An official [uniformed public order] team stops a painter in his jump suit to ask for an ID while questioning him. The painter is apparently going to paint a doctor’s apartment in Bornova . . . We know that there is a prior relation between the doctor and the painter.’ The last sentence evoked a wave of laugher. It is the word ‘relation’ that the officers find funny. Later on the homophobia became clearer as the captain repeated the doctor’s claim about their friendship. He continued: ‘According to the doctor, the police take him to a desolate place at night and they beat him naked.’ The element of nakedness in the account of the doctor for the meeting spectators was a clear indication of the sexual nature of the relationships between the doctor and his painter friend. According to the media statements of the doctor, he questioned the police officer on his intentions and their encounter quickly turned into a quarrel and jostling. During the discussion to follow, the morals of the story became clearer. The lesson of the doctor’s beating was to remind team members what to do in a ‘situation like this’. The captains were to be contacted as soon as possible, before the incident became uncontrollable. If not, there wasn’t anything that the organization



could do, one captain stressed. By ‘incident’, the captain meant the beating, or other forms of police misconduct. The issue was not whether to beat or not, but what to do when such an event took place. As observable in the officers’ reactions, they demanded being backed by the organization in their use of force. It would not be proper to take this instance as a descriptor of institutional police reaction to similar cases. In fact, the official public attitude was much different to this particular case. For instance, the captain of the public order team involved in the beating visited the beaten doctor at the hospital with a bucket of flowers and apologized. But, when the police responses to brutality cases as a whole are examined, the voices of denial seem to be dominant. Force is seen as a rightful domain of the police, and most of the torture and brutality cases as allegations of ‘enemies’ as mentioned in the previous chapter. While publicly, the police had apologized with flowers in this particular case, during the meeting defensive reactions dominated the room. The importance of the flowers should not be neglected, however. If it was not the expected or systematic attitude of the police to apologize to victims of police brutality, it meant something. The meaning was revealed in the meeting of the Public Order Teams, at which I was present. The discussion of the doctor’s beating incident took another course there. This time it was not an outright denial of responsibility, but a lesson of distinguishing whom to utilize force on. The police officers were given direction to distinguish between ‘suspects’ and ‘respectable citizens’. Those who were suspects were not the doctors, or ‘Mercedes-drivers’ but the ‘thugs’. A disturbed police officer contested: ‘So we are always going to harass the wretched poor fellows?’ The captain got annoyed with such a ‘stupid’ question as he made himself clear after the meeting to me, and quickly put down the contender. A discussion of how to recognize the suspects followed. The meetings at the Public Order Police headquarters were a place to observe the transfer of such reformed policing. However, such a respect was reserved for only the ‘citizens’ and not the ‘thugs’.




The police did not have to be good to the ‘undeserving’, but rather be firm and unrelenting. The treatment the Public Order Teams captain prescribed was based on this separation: Be civilized and gentle with the citizens, and firm enough with the psychopaths. I don’t tell you to grab the transvestite from the hair and throw, nor do I tell you to be friendly with the glue-sniffer . . . If you go up to them in a slacking manner, then for sure they will not take you seriously. Thus, the police had to achieve a delicate balance. Fear should be inserted into the hearts of ‘thugs’ and ‘psychopaths’ and not in the ‘respectable citizens’, who had nothing to be concerned about. According to the captain, this was a way to discipline the ‘target populations’ and create order in the city. The willing attitude, moreover, was not left to the individual police members, but initiated through the restructuring of the Izmir police. The police forces were under continuous public scrutiny, and their aggressive actions could only be acceptable if the police officers demonstrated an ability to distinguish criminals from non-criminals. As the captain of Konak Public Order Teams Headquarters expressed, arbitrariness that had largely been the rule in dealing with common crimes and citizens, was to be eliminated. The police could no longer act arbitrarily, but instead would be clear about where and on whom the force should be used. ‘Empathy’ for the respectable citizen and appropriate force with ‘psychopaths’ was the recipe. That way, the respect and trust of the citizens could be gained. According to the captain, the ‘respectable citizens’ thought: ‘I am not a psychopath nor a PKK member; why does the police treat me like I am a criminal?’ and he continued: ‘Due to the severe treatment towards the target population – as we call them – we are always applauded.’ Thus, the ‘tolerance’ of the police in the face of a contention had to be calculated very meticulously. In turn, if the force were appropriately used on those ‘psychopaths’ and ‘PKK members’ (a semantically reactionary reference to Kurdish people), the legitimacy problem would also be



resolved.72 A police captain complained of the public perception of the police and mentioned her efforts to change it: ‘I recently participated in a public conference where I told people that a lawabiding citizen has no need to be afraid of the police.’73 The strategy of ‘digging’ went along with this proper use of force on the ‘target populations’. Even if there was no criminal incident in which to intervene, the officers were told to ‘harass’ the ‘target populations’. The system that was put in place tried to reduce such discretion and create a dynamic police force in the streets by way of controlling their practices. While the GPS system mentioned above was one means to oversee the patrols, another was the creation of a performance system, which evaluated the operations of each police officer. The success of preventive policing is closely linked to the performance measuring system. But it was also the same system that expanded the police harassment, already prescribed by the new ‘digging’ strategy. The police officers at the Peace Teams meeting confirmed this without my inquiry. As the discussion on the beating of the doctor was proceeding, the police officer next to me leaned over and commented quietly: ‘These things are happening because of bonus, to get bonus.’ Consolidation of police power and police violence The Izmir Police department consolidated its power through technological and strategic restructuring, as well as incorporating performance management of police officers. Selection of the team members assured energetic and willing operations of the project. Among the voluntary police personnel in the city, those ‘with less than 10 years of experience, no significant disciplinary record and who can adopt changing working conditions and are dynamic, investigative and able to adopt street policing’ were selected through interviews. Once they were selected, they were subjected to a threestage training, which included a training of crime and criminal profiles that are specific to the job, a training for pursuit and close watch conducted by terror police, and a training for close defence and intervention.




What was aimed at through the personnel policy was to both reinforce the physical power and to increase the self-confidence of the police. The reorganization of the police in Izmir also hoped to address the ‘weaknesses’ of the police, reflecting the insecurity of the police officers. This was what set C¸apkın apart from other police chiefs, according to many police members.74 He was respected for being a real policeman who protected and supported his crew. Such support must have given confidence to the police officers. The public support for C¸apkın and the police was also growing; the media headlined the achievements of the Izmir police. C¸apkın’s new policing system also coincided with the passing on the new PVSK, which equipped the police with more discretionary powers to use force and immunity from public intervention. The legal changes in PVSK in June 2007 reinforced and complemented its consolidation of power of the Izmir Police.75 The act increased the issue of police discretion in the use of force, including the right to shoot at suspects who do not obey the stop warning of the police. The impact of expanded police power was almost immediately reflected in the rise in police brutality and torture cases, both in Izmir and other cities. According to a report prepared by TI˙HV recounting the twoyear period between 2007 and 2009, there were 23 publicly exposed cases of human rights violations by the Izmir Police Department. Two people, Baran Tursun and Emrah Gider, were killed, while two others were wounded by the police in separate events, on the grounds that they did not obey the stop warnings or resisted police authority. Among these cases, Baran Tursun’s murder became a subject for a nation-wide discussion due to the struggles of his family and it produced a debate on the new PVSK. On the night of 24 November 2007 a Public Order Team started to follow Tursun’s car upon suspicion. According to the account of the police, Tursun, a 20-year-old Kurdish man from a middle-class family, had not stopped his car despite various police warnings. Thus, one of the police officers open fired. A bullet hit Tursun in the head. Tursun’s friend, who sat in the passenger seat, claimed



that they did not hear the warning of the police and had no intention of escaping. The police had shot to kill, aiming at his friend’s head rather than the tires of the car. Two years of legal struggle on the part of the family ended with a two-year imprisonment for the police officer.76 The decision suggested however that it was rightful use of force on the part of the police. The case reflected the new PVSK act in expanding the arbitrary power of, and use of force by, the police. Accordingly, a patrol officer, who was in a diligent pursuit of a ‘target’ person, using his right to shoot, murdered Tursun. The case of Osman Ko¨se, who was shot and wounded by the police in January 2008, also involved the patrol units in search of suspects. During their patrol duty, the public order police stopped Ko¨se and asked for an ID. When Ko¨se refused to show it, a fight erupted between him and the police. During the fight he was shot, accidentally according to the police. Ko¨se would be charged with resisting the police authority. In the new policing of Izmir, a simple ID check could escalate into a violent encounter. Melossi reminds us ‘there are techniques of control and also there are techniques of insubordination and of resistance.’77 These ‘techniques of insubordination’ or the resistances delimit and shape modes of regulation as well as the types of penal institutions and practices. These acts are hidden in the everyday forms of insubordination or the spectacular revolts. In turn, new encounters of the Izmir police with the public produced not only new techniques of subordination but also confrontations. In addition to publicly exposed cases, the human rights abuse files at the Izmir Bar Association are valuable sources for understanding the use of force by the new public order police on its ‘target populations’ in Izmir. The files consist of standardized complaint documents, which include brief descriptions of the incident written by the complainant, and the age, address, name, place of birth, and occuption of the complainant. While the ethnicity of the victims cannot be confirmed, the birthplace or the place of residence can provide a clue. Similarly, the occupation of a complainant can indicate his or her economic position.




Some of the descriptions in the files could be interesting to provide here, a glimpse into the encounters with the police. A young man, from a disproportionately Kurdish neighbourhood, writes in his complaint file: The police were looking for a suspect person and asked for my ID. I told them that my ID was in the house. Yet, they told me to go put on some clothing and come back. I did so without any objection. And when I went back, they told me that it was not me. I responded saying that I already told them so, and nothing else. The captain’s assistant started to swear and hit me; he continued his act in the police station.78 In routine police checks like this, the questioning of the intent of the police could incite the police.79 In many cases like Osman Ko¨se’s, the complainant was stopped for an ID check and then without a serious confrontation, the police used excessive force. Report no. 167 (11/2006) was related to one of the Peace Teams: I was sitting in a park in Bog˘azic i. After a while I saw 2 people, who later I realized, were undercover police following a kid. As they were passing by me, one of them asked for my ID. I presented my ID and gave it. They started to walk without giving me back my ID. I asked why they took my ID and what I did wrong. They said shut up and handcuffed me. I asked why they were putting on handcuffs, and told them that I would come to the station if they asked. Two other police officers came and pushed me to the ground where they beat me. They told me that they are from Peace Teams, we will charge you with resisting police authority. They also called me ‘motherfucker’. Report no. 166 (11/2006) was filed by a young man form Mardin, a Kurdish city in Eastern Turkey: As I was walking with my friends, three civilian looking people stopped us and told us that they were police. They asked us for



our IDs. Since I did not have my ID, one of them told me to take off my shoes and at the same time looked though my pockets. He wanted to put me in handcuffs and even though I did not resist, they pushed me to ground and as I was lying they started to hit me in the face and balls. In addition, they out the handcuffs form my back. I did not make any complaints, but when they brought me to the station, I was also beaten by fifteen other policemen without uniforms for 5 minutes. They said ‘we are police, we can beat you or fuck your mama if we like.’ Other cases also included charges against the complainants: resisting police authority.80 The offense of resisting the public officers’ authority is defined in the Article 265 of the Criminal Law. The sections relating to police are as follows: the person who uses force and threat to prevent the public officer from doing the job is punished with incarceration from six months to three years. The offence is quite vague and its interpretation is largely left to the officer. This flexible space is understood well in the systemic operations of the Public Order Police in Izmir. It gives an indispensable freedom to the policemen in intervening in the individuals, arrested for an offence, or simply questioned. According to another complaint report filed by two young men born in 1987 in Mardin, as they were sitting in the front area of a coffeehouse, four police officers came and tried to take one of their friends to the police station. They claimed in the complaint: We did not want to let them take him, we asked them why they were taking him and they would not say. The police held our friend from his neck and knocked him against the wall. I asked the police to let him go and they pepper sprayed my eyes. There was no bad treatment in the police station.81 The report also included the police’s statements about the incident: The coffeehouse customers, according to their statements, threw




bricks at them, and they had to call for support. The complainants were charged with resisting police authority. In October 2007, two other Kurdish youths aged 16 and 17, were pepper sprayed because they did not have ID on them. In turn they were charged with resisting police authority.82 A complainant, who was arrested in Buca, was charged with resisting police authority, even though there was no real offense: I was eating sandwich with my friends and the police arrived asking us why we were shouting. We told them that we were not shouting; we are just eating. It was not even 5 minutes later, while we were walking towards my place, a police car and then three more police cars came and stopped us. Without asking anything, one of the police officers hit my head with his. My tooth hurt his head and all the rest started to beat me with batons. And they brought me to the police station and continued there.83 Report no. 162 (11/2006) was filed by a street vendor in Bornova. He was charged with attacking, offending and threatening a police officer: I was sitting with my friends and police officers came and asked us what we were doing. We told them we were drinking beer. They left. We then went in front of our home, as we reached the place, the police officer who had just inquired us and a friend named O. were arguing. I did not see my friend attacking the officers, they were just shouting that they had been pepper sprayed and could not see. We went to help them and calm everybody down but they took me and my friends from attacking the police . . . The stick that is shown as a proof is not mine. Nor the knife. I did not see who were using those. Such everyday encounters with the police were rife with violence. The police, on the other hand, had a quite different perspective. Most stories of disproportionate use of force entailed an explanation



of ‘irrational’ and ‘psychopathic’ behaviour on the part of the detainee. Many police members’ interviewed had a story of such situations. The head of the children subdivision for instance told one: A child about 14 years of age comes to Bursa children subdivision. The kid had problems with his family and tried to set fire to their home. When he comes to the children police station he kicks up a stink there. The glass cuts through his arms and the blood splatters on one of the police. The kid apparently had AIDS; his sexual preference was different.84 Many police interviewees told of cases in which they witnessed the suspect hurting himself while under police control. Thus for many police, torture claims in the police stations were unrightfully made by ‘psychopaths’, who hurt themselves deliberately. While most of the brutality cases took place on the street, the station still offered a space to use violence on those ‘undeserving’. A 17-year-old from the shanties of Limontepe wrote that after being detained in Konak Children Bureau for theft, he was beaten by the captain of the station: ‘The woman police captain hit my head asking whether I had ever been beaten by a woman.’85 Nonetheless, torture and brutality were increasingly taking place in the streets rather than the station as confirmed by the observations of head of the human rights division of the Izmir Bar Association, where the files were located. As the police shifted its operations to the street in order to bring out the criminals to light, they also increased their disproportionate use of force on the street. The Izmir Public Order Police increasingly spared its violence on the ‘target populations’. Most of the complaint files were filed by young men, unemployed or working in the informal sector, residing in shantytown neighbourhoods that are largely populated by Kurds (e.g. Kadifekale, Narlıdere, Gu¨ltepe, Yamanlar, etc.) and /or their birth place were cities from the Kurdish region (e.g. Van, Kars, Mardin, Diyarbakır . . . ). While some of them were being questioned




on suspicion of a petty crime, some were simply stopped for an ID check as a part of ‘digging’ strategy of the police. Any kind of verbal questioning of the police, or any objection, escalated a simple preventive practice into a criminal situation, especially resisting police authority. The increasing use of the offence of resisting police authority has been a nationwide development. IHD also showed the link between the police brutality cases and the resisting police authority. Compiled from the official statistics of the Justice Ministry, during 2006– 7, for every torture case, 63 resisting police authority cases were opened. According to the director of IHD, the cases on resisting police authority have been the most common tactic of suppressing the claims of torture. He states: ‘These numbers show us that there is no effective struggle against torture, no investigation. On the contrary there are these court cases in order to strip the police from torture allegations. This unveils the character of this system.’86 At the same time, resisting police authority was not always fabricated by the police officers. People did question the authority of the police and sometimes fought them. This also suggests that police authority was not absolute, and it was contested during the encounters. The ‘target populations’ resisted the police offense and aggression. However, the police officers were reinforced with new resources and encouraged by the ‘bonus’ points in their aggressiveness. Trying to increase their performance points and get ‘bonus’ points, the policemen were directed to ‘harass’ the ‘target populations’ in order to have control over them. According to the captains of the Public Order Teams, the results were already in place. His words can be read another way, in interpreting the police brutality cases: Our target population is no more trying to resist, they understood they cannot get away with it . . . Target population was resisting at the beginning. But now, we beat them with baton and use pepper spray. They no longer can resist. The Izmir police was claiming to firmly establish its authority over the ‘unruly’ and ‘unrespectable’ populations.



Conclusion The new technologies the Izmir Police Department invested in new ways of increasing effectiveness; and were also utilized to control its personnel by overseeing their activities in the streets. Integrated with other mechanisms of regulating and determining practices of police officers, these technologies were imperative in consolidating police power. In this process, what was inventive on the part of the Izmir Police Department was its ability to seize on the problem of urban crime as a way of consolidating its power and legitimating its operations. The fight against crime was a much acceptable strategy used to reinforce the capacities of the police and present its main function as establishing the desired order in a city, which was disrupted with the shifting urban life and economic transformations. Since common crimes were regarded as the source of insecurity and fear in the city, a more systemic engagement by the public order police would equip the department with the tools to intervene in the sources of urban problems, or more properly those ‘target populations’, who disrupted the order. The formation of the category of ‘target populations’ was central to the production of proper police behaviour. It strategically distributed police power disproportionately over the ‘undeserving’ populations and particular problem areas. While individual police instincts and discretion still remained the catalysts of police behaviour at the street level, the recognition of ‘target populations’ and suspect categories was systematized. That is, profiling of ‘target populations’ was an important element within the overall strategies of the Izmir public order police. While profiling located urban poor, young and male, especially Kurdish people, the spatial divisions in the city also served the task of aiding the profiling operations. In the division of the city into public order districts and in locating the whereabouts of the ‘psychopaths’, ‘thugs’, ‘recidivists’, a spatial strategy could also be applied. The neighbourhoods where ‘these’ people were abundant, where ‘these’ people grew and lived, neighbourhoods which hid and accommodated them became of particular concern to respective Headquarters.




The ‘digging’ in Izmir sought to bring out the criminal elements by way of constant surveillance in the city and ‘harassment’ of its ‘target populations’. This meant 24-hour patrols, ID checks, frisk, body searches, and verbal harassments, not only to find criminals, but also to force people into confrontations. At the same time, it meant continuous street patrols especially around ‘sensitive’ areas. For sure, this allowed for putting a great pressure on petty criminal acts, yet it also entailed a criminalization of the urban poor who are categorized as the ‘target populations’. According to the Izmir Police Department, this was a preventive policing strategy. To prevent crime police ‘harassed’ the ‘target populations’. Thus, in time, they would learn they could not get away from the police officers, who were made into effective instruments genuinely interested in catching the criminals, motivated by bonuses. The new institutional technologies of control of police behaviour, a set of incentives and supportive presence of the department, both physically and mentally ensured that the practices of Izmir police were efficiently working. The chapter on the ideologies of crime brought forward the various actors who were engaged in interpreting the criminal elements and producing criminological discourses. However, criminalization is not simply an act of labelling. It is also about practices that produce real effects, and make criminals out of ‘target populations’. In the latter, we find the reflections of profiling. Profiling also went along with creating better public relations. Public, in the operations and perspective of the police, was however not constituted by all, but only by ‘respectable citizens’. To earn their support, the Izmir police differentiated and diversified their actions. They operated on an economy of behaviours that required respect and a soft side in dealing with the ‘respectable’; and harshness and strength in dealing with the ‘thugs’. Professional and civilized manners were reserved for those who ‘deserve’ it, and the forceful authority applied on the city’s ‘undeserving’. Police force and power was not to be expended on the ‘respectable citizens’; but on particular populations, the so-called ‘thugs’ and ‘psychopaths’. The detection of ‘target populations’ was of



the utmost importance to ensure the effective use of resources as well as to gain legitimacy amongst the citizens of the city. The restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police was a strategy to gain more power through responding to the existing discourses and fears of the crime surge. The police’s ability to control the streets and the ‘unruly’ populations were driven by other sources. For instance, the neighbourhoods were in some cases impenetrable within the present system. The vanity and insolence of the criminals had to be broken down. It was not only the ideologies that surrounded crime which led to the transformation of the police but the resistances of the ‘unruly’, as well as, the arbitrary interventions and inabilities and unwillingness of the police members on the street that had to be reshaped.


Tepedekiler oraya as¸ag˘ı mahalle diyor, as¸ag˘ıdakilerse tepeye as¸ag˘ılık mahalle. Tepedekiler as¸ag˘ıdakileri keyifli bir vahs¸etle do¨vu¨yor, as¸ag˘ıdakilerse tepeye o¨ldu¨ren polisler yolluyor. [Those in tepe [‘the hills’] call that place lower neighbourhood, those in lower neighbourhood call tepe low neighbourhood. Those in tepe beat those in lower neighbourhood with a delighted savagery; those in the lower neighbourhood send their killer cops to tepe.] Murat Uyurkulak, Tol Hepsi de girdi ıktı. c Bu tepenin ocug c ˘ u oldug˘u icin. [All of them went in and out of prison, because they are the children of Tepe.] Interviewee no. 24

Introduction The restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police and its effect on reducing crime in the city was rapidly made visible by the media.1 C¸apkın gave interviews about the success of the police, and newspapers celebrated the crime-less city.2 He came to be known as ‘the man who erased crime from Izmir’, ‘a chief who stands behind his



officers’, ‘a down to earth, hardworking chief’, who ‘cleaned’ and ‘saved’ Izmir. His work in Izmir earned him nationwide recognition, as well as public support from middle class I˙zmirlis. His achievement in ‘creating order and peace’ in Izmir also won him the position of police chief of Istanbul. In the words of a columnist, C¸apkın would ‘crown’ Istanbul with his respected policing.3 However, as partly elaborated in the previous chapter, and evidenced through the human rights records of the Izmir police, the new public order policing and its success depended on the expansion of violence toward, and the criminalization of, ‘target populations’. The ‘grand cleaning’ of the city of its ‘undesirables’ rested on elaborately calculated strategies of control over the urban space, and the excessive use of force on ‘target populations’. Transvestites, prostitutes, and segments of the urban poor, particularly Kurds and Roma people, as well as the neighbourhoods they resided in, were defined as the main targets of new policing, and thus experienced a different form of policing than the city’s ‘respectable citizens’ did. In this chapter, I focus on only one segment of these ‘target populations’, Kurdish migrants, in order to understand more clearly the processes of policing and the daily production of criminals, i.e. criminalization through policing. For this, I rely on the fieldwork I have conducted in Narlıdere district of Izmir, from September 2007 to May 2008.4 Through the fieldwork I aim do two things. First of all, I provide a case study, which demonstrates the practices of the Izmir Public Order Police, and a means to grasp the complex processes of criminalization transpiring in a specific locality. Secondly, I present a perspective from below: the perspective of the ‘target populations’. This way, I detail the operations and the impact of new policing from the perspective of those who experience the change most immediately. This chapter first describes its context: Narlıdere and Tepe. An understanding of the socio-economic transformations and the current dynamics of Tepe are indispensible when attempting to make sense of the thorough criminalization process taking shape in the area. The two sections that follow rest on interviews from both Tepe and lower Narlıdere, and demonstrate the local discourses of crime



and perspectives about the police. The chapter follows a trajectory similar to that of the book as a whole. As the crime discourses and ideologies described in the second chapter takes us to the policing crisis and legitimacy problems of the police in the third chapter, Narlıdere interviews bring forward a close link between crime discourses that circulate in everyday life and distrust towards the police. While the local crime discourses show how a moral panic criminalizes Tepe neighbourhoods and Kurdish migrants, the stories of encounters with the police expose the police crisis at the local level. As crime is inherently a relation between an act and the police, criminalizing discourses about Narlıdere’s poor Kurdish populations exist alongside contradictory perspectives about the police. What makes this inherent relation between crime and police – or criminalization and policing – bare is the perspective from Tepe and its Kurdish residents as presented in the section ‘New Policing in Tepe’. It explores the divergent policing strategies imposed on different gendered, ethno-racial, class and spatial characteristics of the populations in question through the perspectives provided by 52 semi-structured interviews in Narlıdere area. The interviews that took place in the shantytown neighbourhoods of Narlıdere, especially in the Tepe area, bring forward the most vivid information about the Izmir Public Order Police and its new practices. The subjects of this perspective, it turns out, are not all Kurdish migrants, but a segment of it. As will be explained, the young Kurdish men of Tepe disproportionately encounter police harassment and are targeted by the new public order policing. Neither Kurdish women, nor even politically radical older generations of Kurdish people, experience the new policing in the same way as the young men. In the interviews with Kurdish teenagers, the new policing practices were the most detailed and clear compared to the rest of the interviews. They provide quite a different perspective than the police sources, as well as interviews with other residents of Narlıdere. Hence, it also develops the findings presented in the previous chapter in its focus on the new policing practices.



The Tepe interviews also provide a route to making sense of the criminalization of Kurdish youths as a historical and structural problem, in continuity with state violence especially in the regulation of Kurdish populations, as will be explored in the last section. At the same time, the terms of the regulation of Tepe youths today indicate a shift, as their policing mostly involves common rather than political criminality, and operates through a variety of new technologies and strategies by the Izmir police. This way, the new policing in Izmir can be understood both as a shift and continuity, especially with regard to the Kurdish populations, who compose one of the most precarious segments of the labouring poor in the neoliberal era. First is a descriptive account on the changing dynamics of Narlıdere that will help situate the criminalization of Tepe and its youth within the wider neoliberal and urban transformations.

Narlıdere: from Gecekondu-ization to Neoliberal Urbanization Located on the periphery of Izmir, the district of Narlıdere was an Alevi village until almost the 1960s. Large-scale migration to Narlıdere started during the 1960s, and accelerated especially during the 1970s. As industrialization was transforming the economy of the city, migrants from rural regions came to Izmir in search of jobs and better opportunities. The need for migrant labour in the industrial sector absorbed the immigrants into the urbanization process in Narlıdere. In 1962 it became a municipality, and was tied to the Central Izmir Municipality as a district after the 1980 military coup. In 2008 the population of the district increased to 63,020. From the 1960s to the 1990s, the growth of Narlıdere took the form of gecekondu-ization as migrants constructed shanties on the state-owned land located on the hills to solve their problem of housing. Having social networks, family members, and co-locals in the area would help them adapt to city life, find employment and survive in the city. In time, the shanty-dwellers gained ownership of their shanties with legal changes introduced by populist policies of different governments and district administrations. Construction



of new shanties continued until the mid-1990s, when the municipality took legal precautions against them. By the 1980s and into the 1990s, Narlıdere was a working-class district, inhabited by both lower level workers and public sector employees. Shanties in the district today are located within four neighbourhoods: Atatu¨rk, I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨, Ilıca, and Onur. The most dense and exclusively shantytown neighbourhoods are I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨ and Atatu¨rk, shortly referred to as Tepe due to their location at the hills of Narlıdere. Tepe (meaning hill) was initially established during 1970–5 period. According to a rare study of the area, Tepe grew mainly during 1985–9 when migration and shanty construction rose rapidly.5 Construction of the shanties and the growth of Tepe continued throughout the 1990s, but with less intensity. In 1995, the municipality initiated a ‘shantytown transformation project’, demolishing 342 homes in 2002, and constructing a large-scale housing complex, named Narbel in place of the demolished shanties.6 For the evacuated shantytown residents another smaller complex, Narkent, was built right next to Narbel on the slope of the hills. The evacuees who owned titles of their shanties would have the ownership of the apartments with small monthly payments.7 The attitude of the municipality was made clear after the shanty demolitions: the construction of shanties was no longer possible. Migrants were drawn to Narlıdere by a combination of economic, political and cultural reasons. Especially for the early rural immigrants, the orchards and small industrial workshops that existed around the area provided abundant opportunities for work. Even though Narlıdere is in the periphery of the city, the existence of public transportation to the city also gave access to the other employment opportunities. Land was easy to squat on, as the area was composed of divided private slots and large state treasury land. The political authorities also allowed gecekondu-ization to gain votes. At the same time, radical leftist political groups during the 1970s accommodated migrant workers and their housing needs through collective construction of shanties, a history similar to those of other shanties around Turkey’s migrant-drawing cities. The version of a



neighbourhood headman8 of the history of Tepe appeared in the local newspaper, Narlıdere Gu¨ndem: When we first came, the land was abundant and we occupied it, we took the state land by force so to speak. We divided the land into plots as political groups (Dev-Genc and then Halkın Kurtulus¸u and some other groups). We would recruit 15 – 20 people from those groups and construct houses together with the newcomers. Those who heard this came and solidarity continued in the neighbourhood.9 Labour power and equipment provided by the leftist political groups gave migrants a considerably more comfortable entrance to the city than they might otherwise have experienced. Acquaintances and relatives also played a role. Those with networks could easily find ways to construct a shanty on the state-owned land. From the 1980s onwards, these informal hometown networks, rather than political groups, were much more influential when it came to acquiring a shanty and moving to the neighbourhood. Unlike in many other shantytowns in large cities during the 1980s, the land mafia did not flourish in Narlıdere. The social and cultural make-up of the district was influential in the growth as well. Narlıdere had developed around an Alevi village and is still known as an Alevi district. The leftist and democratic values of Alevi communities have eased the entrance of new migrants ¨ zdemir et al., migration has been to the area. However, according to O 10 mainly economic. About 75 per cent of the participants of their study have given economic forces as their main reasons for leaving their homes to search for better lives. Others stated familial problems, forced migration, or better educational opportunities for children, etc. Another 71 per cent of the migrants came directly from their place of origin, from the rural areas.11 The migrants in the area came mainly from Eastern Turkey, followed by central Anatolia and south-eastern region, as both headmen and municipality officers explained. In O¨zdemir’s sample, 61 per cent of all migrants were from eastern and south-eastern regions.12 Compared to the composition of the



population in Izmir, the area has a much higher concentration of Kurdish people.13 Although the migrants came for better lives, Tepe’s living standards have been quite low. Throughout the 1970s and into the 1990s, Tepe was lacking most basic public utilities, such as electricity, water, and proper streets. For example, in the Atatu¨rk neigbourhood, water came only after the 1990s. At the time of my research, two to three per cent of households still did not have water, but used the public fountains connected to the nearby dam. According to the residents, the fountain’s water quality was very bad. Electricity has been available for a long time, but only though illegally retrieving it from the wires. After the 1990s, all residents had to sign up for membership with the distributor. The asphalt streets were also constructed after the 1990s and the public buses started to operate in 2000, after a neighbourhood wide petition to the Izmir municipality. Even now, public transportation in this hilly area is very insufficient. The conditions of life are determined by work. A large segment of the employment of Tepe residents is composed of insecure and informal sector work. For example, men in Tepe generally find work in construction,14 which constitutes one of the lowest paid and most insecure forms of employment in urban Turkey.15 Except for big construction companies that started to operate in the area with the rise of real estate values, employment in this sector is organized through informal networks. Contractors generally communicate with a leader, who has a team of workers and organizes them. Knowing a leader with a network of contractors is the most common way of getting a job in the construction business. These teams are mainly formed through hometown networks in the neighbourhood. Those from the same town or village support each other in finding jobs. Without networks long-term unemployment is unavoidable.16 Today, unemployment in Tepe is quite high. According to official reports, 33 per cent of the residents are unemployed, far above the Izmir unemployment level, which is around 16 per cent. Meanwhile, the neighbourhood headmen I interviewed gave much higher numbers, as they also include those who have only transient jobs. The only employment options are in the precarious construction



sector and the informal service economy, and hence, poverty in the neighbourhood is rampant. For migrants who arrived during the 1960s and 1970s, there were ample economic opportunities in the industrial sector, as well as other forms of formal employment. Shantytowns solved the housing question for the migrants and provided them with communities in the big cities. Tepe’s residents also describe better standards of life, solidarity, and employment opportunities, even though the municipal services came much later to the area. Today, while residence in Tepe is not always an indicator of poverty, a large portion of the residents live in poverty. Until recently, the orchards also provided an important employment area for the shantytown dwellers of Tepe, women in particular. Women in Tepe remain mostly in the private sphere as homemakers. ¨ zdemir et al., for instance, 75 per cent of women were recorded as In O homemakers.17 Similarly, according to the neighbourhood headman in the Atatu¨rk neighbourhood, ‘at most, 20 per cent of the women in Tepe work.’18 Yet, women constitute an important part of the seasonal agricultural labour that has been available in the area. The interviews reveal that women also work as house cleaners in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The work that is available for the youth is the hardest and least paid, humiliating in their words. ‘Always construction and it is a heavy job,’ complains a young man.19 For a small per centage of young people – almost exclusively boys – becoming an apprentice to a mechanic, electrician, handyman, shoemaker, or similar professional is also a possibility. However, to be accepted as an apprentice also requires personal networks and already established ties. In addition, there is an age limit; only the very young are accepted because of the time needed to learn the trade. For those who passed the age of apprenticeship, the most desired jobs are low-end service jobs, including waiting tables in the growing number of restaurants and working in the private security firms around the area. Tepe’s residents are part of a precarious labour force of the neoliberal economy, with deteriorating standards of living and dissolving solidarity. Neoliberal economic transformations have reduced many formal employment opportunities in Izmir, and subsequently precarious work without security or trade unions has



started to take its toll on marginalized working-class communities such as Tepe. While Tepe dwellers are struggling with unemployment and poverty, the lower Narlıdere has been changing as well, but in quite the opposite direction. Today, right on the coast, off of Narlıdere, private luxury homes and gated communities are built. Behind them lie the remaining orchards that resist the record-level real estate values of the Sahilyolu area. The orchards are divided from central Narlıdere by the C¸es¸me–Izmir–Ankara highway, connecting the city to the popular summer resort town. On the Narlıdere side, next to the highway, there are apartment complexes for mid- to high-income residents, more and more appealing to the new middle classes of the neoliberal era. New residents of lower Narlıdere have been moving into the area since the mid-1990s, and the construction of luxury housing developments gained momentum during the 2000s, when the highway construction was finalized and the large shopping malls were established adjacent to Narlıdere. The spaces appealing to the new middle classes are not just the shopping malls and the highway, but the many restaurants, recreation areas, hotels, universities, and hospitals that now shape the urban space in and around Narlıdere. Narlıdere is no longer urbanized through gecekondu-ization. Instead, in line with neoliberal urbanism, Narlıdere is being transformed so as to appeal the new middle-classes. Industrial workshops, desolate areas, shanties, and orchards are eliminated to give way to the tennis courts, securitized apartment buildings, shopping malls and luxurious homes. Even though Narlıdere’s real estate market has been exploding since the late 1990s, hosting the new middle classes with their new consumption patterns, did not translate fully into new jobs for existing Tepe residents. The construction companies that build new complexes do not even employ the people from the neighbourhoods, as many interviews in Tepe pointed out. Also, according to research on the new poverty in Istanbul, employment patterns in the construction have changed. Construction companies employ their own workers, rather than relying on construction teams. In turn, this has been one of the most important reasons for increasing poverty in the cities.20



As new middle classes of neoliberal Narlıdere, equipped with new consumption patterns, fundamentally changed the dynamics of the district, poverty became much more visible, and inequalities more acute. An interviewee explained the new contradictions in Narlıdere: In a sense they do not live together. They do their shopping in different places. Residents of the new luxury apartment complexes go to shopping malls. Narlıdere is experiencing a process of conflicted development. Rents vary between nothing to trillions in a very narrow area, from the seaside to five hundred meters behind. There are different worlds with no relation or communication.21 Lower Narlıdere is no longer the simple and modest neighbourhood as it used to be, with its working class composition, but is one of the new spaces of the real estate boom. The new middle classes of the neoliberal era have been shaping Narlıdere’s make-up, yet they do not actively contribute to the economy of the district. On the contrary, the expansion of the luxury housing market, especially the increase in home prices and rents has further contributed to poverty. This also has an effect on the lands where shantytowns existed. Now bordered by luxury apartments, the shanties are targeted for urban transformation projects. The threat of shanty demolitions is felt in the neighbourhood. In many cases, the only material property of families are their ‘shacks’. One interviewee expressed the inequalities and the threat of losing one’s home: ‘They constructed a “smart building”. 2 Trillion! Why don’t you construct a factory instead? They are planning to demolish our homes too. What would I do without it? How will I pay rent?’22 Moreover, as most orchards were transformed into housing developments, employment in the orchards declined drastically in the late 1990s. An old woman, for instance, remembers 15– 20 years ago when ‘those who were looking for day labourers would come to the square and sometimes they would not even be able to find enough people.’23 Today, the days of abundant work are long gone. Another



interviewee explains the position of neighbourhood residents in the orchards’ labour market: ‘the whole family goes to work for 15 million [Turkish Liras, approximately 10 dollars] from dust till dawn. It is a shame. It is a shame. My family goes to work.’24 By the 2000s, the dynamics of Tepe and Narlıdere were shaped mainly by these inequalities, facing each other in close proximity. Poverty, unemployment and marginalization in Tepe were accentuated in the presence of the wealth and conspicuous consumption of the new middle classes. Poverty that existed in Tepe right next to the area’s new residents became much more visible, and the Kurdish residents of Tepe started to be constituted as ‘problem populations’ to be contained and controlled. As has been demonstrated by various scholars, neoliberal urbanism operates through exclusion and marginalization of the poor labouring classes who inhabit the so-called ‘problem spaces’. Gentrification or elimination of these spaces have been the main tools in exclusion and ‘cleansing’ projects of neoliberal urbanism. In other cases, urban spaces are transformed through a process of creative destruction.25 Narlıdere’s experience can be understood in this context. Once a working class district, Narlıdere has been transforming into a hotspot for the new middle classes and luxury housing developments. Moreover, neoliberal urbanism is closely linked to criminalization and fear of crime associated with the populations who inhabit the transforming spaces. The association of particular spaces and people with criminality serves to re-construct the city and urban spaces according to the needs of new middle classes, who feel threatened by the presence of such problem areas.26 The security and ‘cleansing’ adds value to space, and appeal more to the new middle classes. The story of Narlıdere and criminalization and policing of its shantytowns are in part related to this concern. However, the conditions of the urban poor, who are no longer needed in the deindustrialized cities, create disruptions and social insecurity. Unemployed Kurdish youth, who are no longer absorbed in the labour market, start to become the ‘problem populations’ in Narlıdere, sources of criminal insecurity to which police is responding. As I will describe below, the history of Kurdish people in relation to state also bears important links



to the construction of Kurdish migrants as criminal problems of the cities. Through the Kurdish migration, the violence of the state that was once concentrated in the Kurdish region is brought to the large cities in the form of criminal violence. Yet, the popular understandings of crime and Kurdish criminality remain stripped off these historical and structural dimensions.

Crime Panic in Narlıdere In the second chapter, I discussed the crime discourses that have been taking shape since the late 1990s. There, I pointed out the relationship between the life of crime discourses and large-scale Kurdish migration and poverty in the western cities. As Kurds migrated in large numbers, running away from poverty, war and state violence, they could not find mechanisms of inclusion in the urban economies, which were also going through neoliberal restructuring processes.27 The neoliberal restructuring of the economy has been eliminating the organized labour force and operating on a precarious labour market with an expansion of the informal economy. Formerly the strongholds of labour unions and working-class movements, various sectors have disintegrated.28 The ethno-racially segmented urban poor, who were impoverished and excluded through these neoliberal processes, started to constitute a threat, especially a criminal threat to the middle classes. Kurdish migrants in particular represented the most precarious segments of the labouring poor, and were increasingly constructed as the criminal threat, and associated with political and criminal dangers to the cities and their citizens. The attitudes towards the Kurdish poor in the cities have been shaped by these constructions. As mentioned earlier, in a recent study on the attitudes towards the Kurdish migrants in Izmir, Sarac og˘lu exposes the level of anti-Kurdish sentiment among middle class Izmirlis. Encountering the Kurdish populations more directly in the city and its social life, Izmirlis developed racist ideas about Kurds. They were seen as ‘ignorant’ and ‘uncivilized’ people, who disturb the order in the city.29 An important element in the construction of these sentiments was the alleged criminality of Kurds.



Comparably, Narlıdere was a welcoming district for the migrants. But, this tolerance had its limits. As the population grew rapidly, times of village-like, modest and neighbourly Narlıdere were ‘lost’, as many of its long-time residents both in Tepe and lower Narlıdere expressed. Conflicts and antagonisms took the place of the political and social solidarity of the past. The changing economy of the city and urban dynamics also exposed the contradictions in the district, creating a sense of insecurity. As in many other places, Narlıdere’s residents associated the growing insecurity that they felt with the violence and crime that had been invading their lives. Violence in schools, home robberies, muggings, and drugged youths started to occupy the minds and conversations of Narlıdere’s dwellers. It is possible to detect this preoccupation with crime and violence, Narlıdere’s moral panic, through the pages of the local newspaper. Alarming titles gave away this sense of urgency and fear: ‘Thieves are plundering Narlıdere!’ ‘What is up with order in Narlıdere?’30 The local non-governmental organizations and concerned citizens organized meetings to find solutions to the problem of violence. Crime is also a subject of everyday discussion. Both the discussions of the events the media deals with, and immediate real life encounters and experiences are constitutive of people’s ideas about crime. Teresa Caldeira locates the daily crime talk as a central element in the construction of ideas about crime.31 Crime is not only a subject matter for news, politicians and security forces, but also of regular people. Personal experiences, stories and ideas of crime constitute a fruitful basis for everyday discussion. They collate and make sense of the news and crime discourses through the immediacy of daily encounters with crime. People hear of, live, witness crime. They share these experiences at coffeehouses, home gatherings, or simply in their daily conversations. These may remain descriptive accounts of crime, but they make the crime story a shared one, a collective experience that gives the dominant discourses a meaningful basis. This talk delineates causes and sources of crime, distinguishes the criminal groups and depicts incidents through the categories that are already



elaborated in the dominant discourses and fear of crime. As Caldeira puts it: The talk of crime [. . .] is contagious. Once one case is described, many others likely to follow. The talk of crime is also fragmentary and repetitive [. . .] The repetition of histories, however, only serves to reinforce people’s feelings of danger, insecurity, and turmoil. Thus the talk of crime feeds a circle in which fear is both dealt with and reproduced and violence is both counteracted and magnified.32 Thus, daily crime talk reproduces and makes real the moral panic about crime in the local context. Crime ideologies are not just impositions from above; they operate through the experiences and discussions from below. The interviews with various residents in Narlıdere engendered these daily criminologies as they told their stories, which had been a part of their daily conversations. They recalled the events that had disrupted ordinary lives once again, in response to an open question about their encounters with crime. Both in Tepe and lower Narlıdere, stories of petty crime dominated the interviews with local residents. Even though these were petty crime events, the sense of danger was not petty. A resident of I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨ Mahallesi suggested that crime was a daily occurrence in Tepe: ‘One of my neighbours came to my house one day. His shoes were stolen in the twinkle of an eye. There is no dog left in the neighbourhood. They take the dogs away to prevent their warning.’33 The danger came from the constant disruption and intrusion, rather than violence. But, even when there was no violence, crime meant insecurity. A woman from Tepe explained the intrusion: ‘We go to the neighbours for a visit, and coming back we see the house has been robbed; they looked for valuables. This happened right here.’34 Nor do lower Narlıdere’s residents felt secure from crime. A 63-year-old homemaker woman described her house being robbed several times, and other apartments in the same building were also robbed. In a common way of expressing the feeling of insecurity, she told me that she could no longer ‘leave the window open.’35



To note, for a moment, everybody speaks of crime, but not always in the same way. The stories of crime in Narlıdere were constituted by the subjective positions determined by class, race, gender, and age. My interviews in Narlıdere that inquired about experiences of crime suggested that crime was experienced and presented in ways that reflected the complex social positions of the interviewee. While a middle-class Turkish woman tended to provide stories of victimization, the response of a Kurdish man to the question was to describe a significant event in his life involving security forces and his experience as a political subject. Political subjectivities also had an effect on attitudes. A leftist woman refused to blame the poor residents for crime, for instance. The older generations located their present in comparison with history, while young Kurdish women were largely silent in the conversations about crime. If others told their story, the young women were rarely the subjects of criminality, but appeared as ‘protected’ entities in the minds of male members of their families.36 Young Kurdish girls were especially absent. In rare situations, when I was able to talk to them about crime and the police, they seemed to have no experience or knowledge. When asked questions in the presence of their male family members, they were not allowed to answer. The men in the family provided their answers. The patriarchal oppression kept women as far away from the public sphere as possible, and prevented them from being actors of criminality. But, the complexities of these subjective positions are beyond the focus of this book. One of the rifts that arose during the interviews is still important for the purposes of this chapter: the perception about the criminal groups and spaces in Narlıdere. Tepe’s Kurdish residents were almost always identified as the subjects of criminality in the interviews with or without an actual experience to confirm this perception. In nearly all stories and explanations of crime, criminals were identified as ‘those who live in Tepe’. The accounts about where crime took place and who was victimized changed. But the criminals remained constant in the narratives. Tepe and its residents were constructed as the source of danger. A newly arrived Alevi man defined I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨ as a dark and criminal space: ‘I return from my work late at night.



Close to the centre of the neighbourhood, in the dark corners thieves gather and smoke dope. You understand they are high when you look at them.’37 He, himself, ‘had no issues with the police’ and expressed the necessity to increase night patrol and control as well as intelligence gathering. A retired Alevi man claimed even the selection of victims depended on the criminal’s sense of identity: I used to live up in Tepe during 1990 – 1995. My window, my doors were always open and nothing happened. As soon as I moved downtown things started to happen. My drying laundry, my kids’ toys were stolen. They came with a truck to rob my home. Up there [in Tepe], as we lived as a part of the community no damage was done. When you are not one of them you are targeted.38 The association of crime with Kurds was apparent to both Kurds and non-Kurds alike, but these different groups made sense of criminality in a perceptively different manner. A non-Kurdish and a Kurdish man could utter almost the same sentence at first, giving the rate of Kurdish criminality, but how they interpreted the Kurdish migrants’ involvement in crime diverged considerably: ‘Eighty per cent of those who fall into prostitution here are of Eastern origin,’ said a Turkish lower Narlıdere resident: ‘They bring the children; they buy them, train them and make them work in theft, kapkac , marijuana, heroin.’39 A Kurdish migrant in Tepe spelled out a close figure: ‘90 per cent of those who are involved in crime are the migrants from the East.’ However, while the former argued that there was a criminal culture, the latter pointed to the poverty in which the migrants lived: ‘There is no employment, two wives; either they make their living from the trash or they steal.’40 While Tepe’s Kurdish residents also associated crime with Tepe and Kurds, their analysis connected criminal events and criminality to larger inequalities and structures in the society. A woman resident of the Atatu¨rk neighbourhood saw a close link between the lack of employment opportunities and mugging:



Here people generally work in construction, women go to orchards, pick up tangerines. As getting by has become harder, the mugging incidences have risen. Here those who commit crime are generally from Diyarbakır, Kars, that is [they are] of Eastern origin.41 For those who live in Tepe, the Kurdish migrants themselves, crime and criminality was closely linked with structural conditions the Kurds have faced both historically and in present-day Narlıdere. A middle-aged interviewee who moved to Tepe 25 years ago because of the different layers of violence he faced back in the East, from family feuds to the state forcing them to be vigilantes. He explains crime as the main employment sector for the youth: 80 per cent of the kids have become crime machines. Especially in the past 4 – 5 years it has been progressively increasing . . . There are no employment opportunities for young people. Everybody takes care of themselves . . . The only employment sector is kapkac . . . In the past there was some sort of industry here. There were mechanics not so long ago where the testdriving area is located now. Contractors bring their workers from other places. Maybe it is cheaper for them that way.42 In accounts such as this, the new Narlıdere, which contained the many contradictions mentioned in the previous section, is a crimeridden place not because of the existence of a criminal culture, but because of the antagonisms it contains: ‘There are also socioeconomically better off people in Narlıdere. Right at this point there has been a polarization between down and up town. This created hatred. Crime is both here and there.’43 Crime is a product of inequalities, unemployment and exclusion, rather than being inherent to the culture of ‘ignorant’ people. In contrast to these structural and historical perspectives that existed amongst the Kurdish populations, criminality was an odd cultural trait of Kurdish migrants in the accounts of most nonKurdish and lower Narlıdere residents. Criminality was something



implicated in Kurdishness. In a group conversation in lower Narlıdere44 the discussion of crime directly brought forward the interviewees’ attitudes about Kurdish people and their ‘backwardness’ and ‘laziness’. After a comment on the ‘wasted’ economic investments made in the Kurdish region, the conversation took a route towards the criminality of Kurds: Man 1: But they know how to smuggle very well! Woman: They bring fuel with donkeys over the mountains and pour the fuel into the cars in the streets. Man 1: They cannot do hard work. They choose the easy way rather than to earn their living. Woman: They were moulded that way. Man 2: Everybody chooses the easy way. Woman: Yes sure, O¨zal also said: ‘My civil servants know their way.’45 Man 1: Most of the kapkac offenders are Kurdish, you know. Woman: They kidnap children from the East and use them in kapkac here. Didn’t you read the newspapers? Man 1: The street gangs give the families 1 billion (TL) and bring the children as kapkaccı.46 Woman: They also make a lot of babies to get a hold of the government. Man 2: But there are no education or birth control policies. They need the children to survive too. ¨ zal47 went to the east with Unesco Woman: No, no! Semra O and spoke with women at homes, men at the coffeehouses. She explained how condoms were used. The state educated them . . . Don’t you remember the women from Unesco, the chamomiles. But, their goal is to take over the state, the country. Not the women, they are ignorant and are kept at home. Men plan these things in the coffeehouses. Racializing discourses about the culture of Kurds were abundant even among the Kurdish people themselves. A Kurdish teacher, who saw other conflicts in place, claimed:



Varos¸es are full of people coming from the East. The culture here is different and they cannot integrate with the cultural and social structure here. There is a feudal structure in the East; it does not fit with the culture here.48 Different aspects of this culture (of poverty and of Kurds) were brought forth. One interviewee provided her analysis of crime as she witnessed it in Narlıdere: Crime is something that people do because of poverty, lack of education, lack of love and compassion. Here people with eight children live in two bedroom houses. Neither their mothers nor their fathers give them any love. A person without love can do anything.49 Kurdish children committed crime due to indifferent and unloving families they had. ‘We are partly at fault . . . Kids are at god’s will and not properly looked after. They are left to the street without being aware of the ambushes awaiting the kids.’50 A guidance counsellor at the elementary school at I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨ distinguished a new culture developing within the ‘disintegrated’ family as the source of crime: Due to economic reasons, family structures, all kids here are potential criminals. They have disintegrated lives and nothing to lose. In the family, both father and brother are in prison; the kid will obviously take them as examples. The people around them are always like that. The kids are very courageous. They get neither education nor love. There is mostly only mother around them, and they do not respect her, do not feel connected.51 Another teacher claimed: With migration the family is dissolved, this is the biggest problem of migration. When they have no mother or father overseeing them kids are footloose. Because, there is no divorce



in the East, but here everyone divorces. Prostitution also increased, even in disguise, young girls sell themselves. And there is nothing like ‘theft is not committed by women’. Once we employed a woman janitor, the first thing she did was to take a teacher’s purse.52 The arguments presented focus on the culture of Kurdish populations and the dangerousness of their culture. The cultural degeneration was about their inability to adapt to the city in line with their essentialized ‘incivility’ and ‘ignorance’. Such arguments were racializing as they suggested that criminality was an inherent element of one’s ethnic make-up. Especially the Kurdish youth of Tepe, through these processes, have become a problem category. For their families and neighbourhood residents there was a sense of loss; for most others they were potentially dangerous, and for the police they were a threatening combination to be managed and repressed. However, the danger did not simply stem from criminality but from their political identities, even without existent political ties. As mentioned earlier in the second chapter, Kurdishness since the mid-1980s has been associated with terror; being Kurdish has been equated with being a terrorist, or at least, with supporting terror. This particular racialization has been shaping attitudes against Kurds, and constitutes the basis of anti-Kurdish sentiments. In turn, in contemporary western cities, it is both the political danger and the criminality engrained in the Kurdishness that constitutes the moral panic. A Turkish interviewee from Tepe provided the link: Because of terror they are very powerful; they shoot in the air. When the Easterners were not here there was peace. There was work; there was bread. Now you cannot even walk in the street if you don’t have an acquaintance, because of the threat of violence.53 Hence, Kurdishness is associated with danger, either political or criminal. Sometimes the danger is quite political, such as taking over the government through a rise in population, or an uprising; and



sometimes they threaten the peaceful life of the city with their criminal acts, or damaging the urban space with their impoverished neighbourhoods. It is these anti-Kurdish, racializing perspectives that criminalized Tepe, rather than the understanding of the historical and structural causes of crime. Poverty and unemployment, while seen as causes of crime, remain detached from an in-depth understanding of structural and historical conditions for most of the respondents. Poverty is seen as a signifier of criminality, the unemployed as a threat, and Kurdishness as inherently linked to terror and violence. That way, criminality is constituted as an ahistorical phenomenon that needs to be resolved through security organs. The new policing in Izmir have responded precisely to these constructions that were taking place both in the national and local level.

Police Crisis in Narlıdere What emerges from the initial questions about crime in Narlıdere are not just stories of crime or theories, and discussions about criminals in Tepe. Discussions of crime also evoke stories of the police and its practices. Before any inquiry about the police was made on my part, many of my respondents started to talk about their encounters with and stories of the police. The policemen and the police station, located in lower Narlıdere’s centre, were visible if not fully transparent. People observed and talked about their experiences with the police once the discussion of crime was in place. Especially in their stories of victimization by crime, the police’s place was quite central. It was not only the criminals who victimized them. The police too were implicated in the victimization, either due to their ineffectiveness or widespread corruption. A teacher from I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨ elementary school explained his suspicions about the police: During the summer months 40 – 50 thieves gather in the schoolyards. We call the police. Police come and chat with the thieves, then the thieves bid farewell to them. Police are



also a part of these things. Once I saw a gang leader brought to the station and the police served tea to welcome him. If the police did not have selfish interests, would they treat him like that?54 Another had a more solid proof: ‘I once witnessed a conversation between a policemen and thieves. The thief was telling the police: “It was fine when I gave you things, no? Now you treat me like this”.’55 If not a clear event or conversation, police negligence implicated police in crime for many others: ‘Once, a man came in front of the police station to sell watermelons; the municipality police came to remove them. 10 – 15 people attacked the municipality police, and the police did not do anything.’56 For the interviewee, the fact that police did not intervene was a clear indication of cooperation between the criminals and the police. Police negligence stories permeated the distrust of the police in Narlıdere’s communities: ‘They had hung Apo’s57 flag in Narbel. I show it to a policeman, the policeman tells me there is nothing he can do.’58 Individual experiences as victims of crime supported this perception: ‘I was victimized by kapkac once. The kid who did it was found guilty but since a gang was protecting him, he was let free,’ one interviewee observed.59 The public perceived the lack of proper justice as a reflection of the cooperation between the police and the criminals. In the words of one of the younger interviewees from the Tepe neighbourhood, there was a ‘joint-broadcast’59 between the police and criminals. Criminals and thus crime were intimately linked to the police. If not through corruption, through its permissiveness, the police were responsible for crime, according to the interviewees. Crime took place with their knowledge: ‘The police know everything that is going on around here. Crime is engraved here. The grocery shop sells stolen cigarettes . . . People do get away with crime.’ Or else the police were useless: According to the police it is the scattered nature of the neighbourhood that prevents the catching of thieves. Thieves



hang out at the coffee shops across from the police station. Don’t they even see them? Incidents take place, police sirens warn the criminals, and they run away before the police arrive. Only if bribery is prevented . . . The district60 works well, but the station is responsible for this area. I called them three times for theft. They come and brush all over the place to take fingerprints, – the guy came and changed his clothes – they cannot even find the fingerprints. It makes no sense.61 Meanwhile, police officers in the streets and police stations were seen as vulnerable. The police were regarded as collaborators and at the same time as victims of new laws that limited their legal powers to fight criminals. These conflicting perspectives existed together in the narratives. They derived partially from their own experience and partially from the discourses of the TNP about the link between a lack of police powers and a rise in crime, as described in the third chapter. Residents believed that the lack of punishments for criminals and the lack of police powers were among the causes of the rise in crime. ‘Police see the thieves on the street, recognize them but do not – or cannot – do anything.’62 The powerlessness of the police was caused by the CMUK regulations, as some of the interviewees observed: ‘The police are afraid to intervene sometimes. During the EU integration process the authority of the security forces was taken away from them.’63 Two perspectives about police ineffectiveness existed together: the corruption and the lack of power: You call the police, but they arrive two hours later. The police are also in cooperation [with criminals] already. The thief takes my phone from my pocket, I tell the police this person took it, and police says: ‘tell me what the name is.’ The powers of the police are taken away. The thief leaves the police station before I do – and then threatens me on the way.64 If we complain about a person who disturbs the residents, we get victimized more . . . The police are also worried, either they will be cheap heroes or they won’t touch anyone. That’s why



the police choose to harass the people who won’t hurt them. They are tied down by the laws as well.65 Both in lower Narlıdere and in Tepe, the police legitimacy was highly undermined by daily experiences of crime and of police. The lower Narlıdere residents defined themselves mostly as victims of crime and corrupt policing, which did not or could not respond to their needs. Otherwise, most of them had ‘nothing to do with the police.’ It was the criminals who had to deal with them, thus they were not worried except when they needed the police. This understanding was not flawed. With the new police strategies of the Izmir Public Order Police, the division between the ‘respectable citizens’ and the ‘target populations’ was clearly drawn. The new police in Izmir opted to transform itself and its public image into a professional and effective service provider for the ‘respectable citizens’, while for the ‘target populations’ an aggressive policing strategy was put in place. This division also provides the basis for the next section, which rests on the perspective of those defined as the ‘target populations’ in Narlıdere. The practices of the new public order police were more visible in the everyday lives of Tepe’s Kurdish residents than in that of middle-class lower Narlıdere inhabitants. Some lower Narlıdere residents were aware of the changes, but their awareness did not go beyond the recognition that the policemen were working more than they used to, and that C¸apkın had introduced new policing techniques that were effective in fighting crime in the city. In turn, of the interviews in Narlıdere, those who were most knowledgeable about the new policing and practices of the police resided in Tepe. Among them, young men had a particularly intimate knowledge of the patrol police and its practices. In detail, they explained their experiences of policing, encounters with police officers in the streets, or in the police station. Thus, in the next section, I will present the perspective from Tepe by relying on the interviews conducted with residents of the Tepe community. This will allow me to detail the transformation of Izmir police and its criminalizing practices. Crime and police can be relationally located not only in the discourses, but



also in the material and everyday practices that criminalized the ‘target populations’ in Narlıdere.

New Policing in Tepe One afternoon, soon after the formation of the Public Order Teams in Izmir, a police patrol car stopped in front of a Kurdish teenager, who was standing at the bus stop at one of the small public squares of Tepe. As would become standard police practice the neighbourhood in coming years, the police officer asked the boy for his ID, to ‘put on GBT’,66 to see whether he had any search warrants on him. The boy did not have his ID on him; he had been to the mosque, a block away from his home. He recollected: Of course, I have a criminal record, an ex-con, in his eyes that is what I am. I am a thug, a scum. I am waiting at the bus stop, waiting for a bus. As soon as he arrives the question he asks is: ‘How much dope do you have? How much do you have?’ I said ‘Do you know me?’ – he knows me – , he said ‘yes.’ I said ‘You know I am not involved in those things, why do you offend me in front of people?’ He told me to give him my ID. I did not have my ID on me. I said I could give him my ID information. He said, ‘No, we do not want your ID information’ and started swearing at me. So, I swore back at him. He hit me, but I did not hit him back, I only held the headlamps of the patrol car. All of a sudden, he made an announcement and with that, twenty-five other patrol cops were on the scene. As if I murdered three people, they called for twenty-five police cars. People who were sitting at the square and my friends also intervened. One of them hits me, another sprays my eyes. I had done nothing; I just did not have my ID. When we arrived at the station, all the policemen in the station including the guard in the door beat me in the lockup. They took me to a lockup, banded me with my belt. They broke my rib cage. Because I did not give them my ID! There they put me in a room and tied me with a belt. They broke my backbones. Because I did not give



them an ID! Then they charged me with carrying a samurai sword and enough marijuana for four joints. According to the accusations I got my sword from the coffeehouse and attacked the twenty-five police patrols, as if I am a ninja walking around with the samurai sword. There was nothing on me not even money, ID or anything . . . I told this to the judge too, in a joking way. They imprisoned me. I had a nine-day doctor’s report since they broke my backbones. And in addition, six of the police officers filed a complaint saying that I swore at them and attacked them . . . This event took place at eight in the evening, and until six in the morning, my friends protested in front of the police station. They demanded that I be released. But they put me in the prison instead; I stayed in Bergama juvenile facility for a year.67 Coincidentally, the same event came up in a discussion with the police captain of the Balc ova Public Order Teams, one of the five new headquarters of the Public Order Teams.68 The account of the captain was quite different in his tone. It was a victorious expose´ of the police power and a display of authority in a problem neighbourhood, which could not be controlled for years. His intent in telling the story was to emphasize how the new policing was successful in fighting the ‘problem populations’. As one of the first incidents between Public Order Teams and Tepe residents, the police finally claimed its authority over those who defy it, according to the captain.69 The event encapsulates many elements of the new policing: a reinforced police force, the fast response of supporting teams, surveillance, harassment and aggressive policing of suspects and target populations, the use of disproportionate power in the policing of mundane events, continued brutality and extra-legal practices, and use of the legal pretext of resisting police authority in unleashing ‘legitimate’ police violence. Clashes like this one, perhaps with less intensity, took place quite often as life for neighbourhood residents entailed a great deal of encounters with the new patrol teams, who were strategically refining their control over Tepe, one of the criminal spaces in Izmir, containing ‘target populations’.



GBT, profiling, and the ‘target populations’ As explained in the previous chapter, the new policing strategies and technologies of the Izmir Public Order Police were being shaped around a zero-tolerance policy in its fight against crime. Part of the zero-tolerance strategy of the Public Order Teams was to monitor and control the target populations through ID checks. Through the ID checks, potential crimes would be prevented. These ID checks or GBT controls were made possible by an electronic system that integrated criminal records and search warrants with specific ID information. The cars used by patrol units were equipped with GBT gear that allowed fast access to criminal records and search warrants for those who corresponded to ‘reasonable suspect’ (‘target’) category of the police. The kind of encounter described above by the Interviewee no. 40 was the most common form in which GBT searches took place in Narlıdere: partially random stop and GBT search, and sometimes frisk. The stop and searches were random to the extent that there needed to be no criminal suspicion. The police stopped only those whose ‘looks’ were suspicious and corresponded with the ‘target population’ category. In the case of Narlıdere, being a poor, young (possibly) Kurdish, male living in Tepe predisposed one to police suspicion. It rested on a form of profiling, informed by ethno-racial characteristics, gendered and spatial divisions, as well as class indicators. Being Kurdish could be visible especially through one’s poverty. In that, the police GBT searches were not random; Tepe’s youth was stopped and ‘put to GBT’ every day. Tepe itself was a place where the aggressive policing was taking place, but outside of Tepe, its residents continued to be under the surveillance of the police as long as they could be recognized. As another young interviewee explained, the police decided to put him to GBT, searched him, and then left as there was nothing to charge him with when he was waiting at a bus stop, this time in lower Narlıdere. They suggested that it was because he walked towards them (around the bus stop) that they found him suspicious. According to the interviewee, it was rather a combination of elements: the place, time, and the ‘looks’.70



The young man who described his first bus-stop incident in Tepe claimed that the police extensively used ID checks and GBT searches: I am put on GBT 20 times a day. Whether it is Newroz or not. But all Tepe people, here or down there, everybody is put on GBT 20 times a day. If you wander around you are put on GBT. The number is 10 –15 in fact, but there are days when it is 20. He recognized the changes in the police practices: Because, they [the police] are told to put on 50– 60 GBTs a day. But they go ask the same people, especially those who have criminal records. They know who has criminal history. For instance, I am a policeman and you are a criminal – that is you have a record. I come and ask for your ID. Then I let the other team know that X is here go disturb him, put him on the GBT.71 He was among the most affected by the police harassment escalating in the neighbourhood. He was 19, unemployed and spent his time in the public square in the neighbourhood. He had been involved in crime, ‘all kinds of stuff’, he admitted, but he swore it had been a while since he had done anything. Even so, the police kept him in their grasp, with ID checks, and verbal and sometimes physical harassment. He was not the only person that received the attention of the new patrol units coming from the Balc ova Headquarters. According to him 80 per cent of his friends were being put to GBT at least couple of times every day. Other young Kurdish men confirmed his claims about the constant ID checks by the patrol units: ‘Whenever we go down from Tepe, Eastern [Kurdish] kids are put to GBT 5 times’, said a young man. ‘Just the other day,’ he reminisced, ‘I was coming from the Prenses Hotel, they stopped me three times and put me to GBT.’72 Stories were similar, even though the numbers changed:



I am going down this road, within 10 km. I am stopped 10 times. One sees me, announces to the others. They stop our car 30 times a day. Search it. We don’t have a driver’s license, they used to let us drive it, now they don’t even allow that. They said it is the orders. One day I will complain about this to human rights. What are you doing? You put us under quarantine.73 Being in an area where he was not supposed to be, in addition to his darker skin tone and his looks, made him suspicious to the police. Others were also stopped for being out of place. Yet, one need not be out of place to be treated with suspicion. The neighbourhood youth were criminalized in their own space, as it disclosed their identity. Outside of Tepe, their treatment depended on their accent or look, which could give away their poverty and Kurdishness.74 Visible signs of poverty allowed for a recognition process to take place. For instance, the son of a business owner in Tepe, who was also Kurdish, was not asked for his ID except for a few times in his life time, according to his father.75 As the business owner claimed, his son was ‘not a part of the Tepe society’; he was a university student. While being employed or a student reduced the risk of encounters with police, it did not necessarily save one from the daily controls. Thus, it was not about being a ‘thug’ or a ‘psychopath’ that put Tepe’s youth under excessive policing: ‘Those who go to work also are subjected to this,’ claimed an interviewee.76 He had been working at the wholesale fish market for the last ten years. Recently, he was put to the GBT more often, yet not as much as much as many others suggested: For the police everybody is a potential criminal here. They ask for your ID out of nowhere. If you hang out there (in the street) all day, and they don’t like your looks, they will put you to GBT 7 or 8 times.77 He witnessed continuous GBT searches not in Konak (the city centre) but in Tepe, where those ‘potential criminals’ lived. All young



Kurdish man went though the police surveillance: ‘Some work some don’t. Some of them just loiter around.’78 Except for those who made a great leap from Tepe’s trajectory, like the businessman’s son, most teenagers in Tepe, either ‘thugs’ or those informally or formally employed in lower-end jobs, were closely watched by the police with their new technological tools and expanded powers. For the police, Tepe contained ‘target populations’, poor Kurdish youth, and thus was an important location for the new policing practices. Spatial control Since the introduction of the teams, police were constantly present, patrolling and cruising through the streets of Tepe. This had a constraining effect on the mobility and public life of youngsters. According to residents, the police hardly went to Tepe neighbourhoods in the past. They came rarely, mostly when there was a political issue, or a demonstration; during Newroz days, for instance. Other times, when they came (mostly for policing the political activities), they did not stay long and left after a short visit. Public order police and the station police were especially absent. Interviewee no. 40 expressed the shift: Police normally would not come up here. After 5 o’clock even patrol cars would disappear. They did not want to concern themselves with this place. People used to kill each other, Narlıdere was dangerous those days. I was little but I saw things. The police would come, but would not be able to take anybody. The police would say, ‘brother, let me take you now.’ They were unable to take them. Now with a police dispatch, 20 – 30 police cars arrive. If there is an event when they come, even if you don’t look, they tell you: ‘Why are you looking?’ They try to provoke you. They attack if you respond. At first, the Tepe youth was pushed away from the lower Narlıdere area. Not long ago, one young man claimed: Whenever we went down [the police] told us: ‘Do not hang out here, don’t steal here around Narlıdere. You can smoke dope or



sell or kill each other up [in Tepe], but don’t come down here.’ It was 2 years ago when they started to push us here. We did what they said. We don’t go down anymore.79 Yet, their spatial retreat had not freed them from the police. The formerly comfortable zones in the neighbourhood, basically the two squares of the Tepe and its streets, had become a place of constant police control and repression. According to Interviewee no. 40, one policeman showed him a written order against ‘public loitering’ and said that if they hung out in the square they were going to be charged with a misdemeanour. The pressure was already put in place with the ID checks: ‘We go to the square to play football. Football you know. They [the police] come and tell us you can’t play here, and ask for the IDs. They search us.’80 It is necessary to emphasize the Public Order Police’s overt attempts to control the streets and public space as a new development. One of my young correspondents claimed: [The policemen] say ‘we can go in wherever and whenever we like.’ So they started to disturb our weddings even. We put the chairs in the square for the wedding. They told us to take less space, not to go that way, not to park our cars there. So they keep disturbing us.81 The presence of the patrol police as a hostile force was apparent: ‘The police always come, put the sirens on. They wait in the dark streets until the morning,’ the same interviewee explained. It is not only the Kurdish residents of Tepe neighbourhoods who claim such a presence – non-Kurdish residents realized that there had been an expansion of the police presence, whether they welcomed it or not. The public square of Atatu¨rk neighbourhood in Tepe, where the mosque, grocery shop, coffeehouse, and the office of the neighbourhood’s headman were located, was under strict control. Both in the daytime and at night, the police patrolled the area. ‘Every minute you see a patrol car here,’ said Interviewee no. 40. Some had a clearer view: ‘The police are always around. They think this place is



full of “illegals” [gayrimes¸ru ].’82 Older residents also supported the claims of the youth: ‘Whenever there are three young people together in the square they come and collect them. They come around here at least two times a day.’ He was speaking of the streets away from the central square.83 It was readily observable to me even as an outsider. Sitting at the coffeehouse or walking through the streets, I came across a patrol car continuously throughout my research in the neighbourhood. The case of Tepe is not isolated. Nor are the new policing practices in the criminalized shantytowns of Izmir unprecedented in terms of spatial controls. The spatially and racially discernable shantytowns elsewhere have been places of political repression operated through security forces. Since the 1990s, the migration of Kurdish people to the big cities shaped the shantytowns where they lived. The political antagonisms between the police and the Kurdish residents took place in the shantytown neighbourhoods. The 1995 Gazi events mentioned in the second chapter were the culmination of such antagonisms between the police and the politically radical neighbourhoods. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Newroz festivities in the shanties also exposed police violence. The police continue to be present in such spaces despite the myth of ‘no-go areas’ and the ‘places that even the police can’t enter,’ as the mainstream media often suggests. Many reports suggest even more constancy in the policing of the shanties. The journalists Temelkuran and I˙s¸eri have examined the continuous presence of militarized police forces in the everyday lives of shantytown dwellers.84 For instance, in Ku¨cu¨kc ekmece, Istanbul, a shantytown that hosted famous death fasts against F-type prisons,85 panzers wait in the elementary school’s playground.86 Neighbourhoods such as Ku¨cu¨kc ekmece and Okmeydanı were proclaimed to be under the control of illegal leftist groups, mainly the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front). The justification for the policing of racialized neighbourhoods such as Tarlabas¸ı in Istanbul’s central district has rested on different grounds from those used in politically dangerous ones. These are criminalized spaces that host the ‘dangerous’ Others: the thieves, the drug-traffickers, gangs, pimps and prostitutes. In Tarlabas¸ı, alongside the police station at



the entrance of the neighbourhood, stands a police panzer, as in Ku¨cu¨kc ekmece. During the night, police stop passing cars and seek suspect persons at the central points in and around Tarlabas¸ı.87 The policing of Tepe is similar to that of ‘problem spaces’ elsewhere in other cities. Tepe’s experience suggests an important shift that can also be observed in the criminalized shantytowns. The police violence in the past had mostly consisted of periodic political repression,88 home raids of politically active residents, repression of Newroz celebrations and other local political demonstrations. While such political policing continued to exist, neighbourhoods like Tepe have now become a subject of continuous police presence for surveillance of the ‘target populations’, who were associated with common crimes. With new strategies and technologies at hand, policing in Tepe and other of Izmir’s ‘target’ neighbourhoods is professionalized. Such policing appears to have no political agenda, as it concentrates on common crimes. Tepe is criminal rather than political in the discursive frame of the new policing practices and its zero-tolerance policing strategies. GBT searches and ID checks put the Tepe residents under continuous surveillance, while the spatial controls aimed at expanding the territorial authority of the Izmir Public Order Police, without resorting to police panzers and extraordinary measures. ‘Harassment’ of the suspects, resisting police authority An important practice of the professional strategies of Izmir Public Order Police was the ‘harassment’ of the ‘target populations’. As explained in the previous chapter, the word ‘harassment’ was the actual word used in the strategy of preventive policing operations. It rested on reasonable suspicion of the police officers and the profiling of ‘target populations’ on a systematic manner. The ID searches and use of the GBT were two essential parts of the strategy of ‘harassment’. Tepe was a place to see this strategy in everyday interactions between the residents and the police. As its residents were a part of the category of ‘target populations’, it provided ample opportunities for the patrol officers to operationalize the preventive policing, while increasing their performance points.



Interestingly, many young respondents used the same word, ‘harassment’, to explain the policing in the neighbourhood, even though it is not a publicly exposed term. Being monitored and checked though GBT searches meant being ‘harassed’. But, ‘harassment’ also entailed an aggressive intervention of the police in the daily life of those who partake in the public space. ‘Harassment’ or preventive policing was not only aimed at preventing crime, but it also criminalized the ‘target populations’ as the Tepe residents deciphered. For instance, ID checks were not just bureaucratic interventions but a means to create criminal events. The neighbourhood headman explained how: ‘When the police ask for ID, they sometimes behave rudely. But also the people object. Once in the back of this office, there were people hanging out. Police came to ask for their IDs, and they started to fight back’.89 The reaction against the offensive attitude of the police was in part related to the masculinity of the Kurdish men, who regarded police not simply as figures of authority to be obeyed, but also as other men who challenge their manhood. Being offended by a man in front of others, being handled and teased was a humiliating experience and directly attacked their masculinity and honour. Resisting police authority was also about different perception of justice at work. The Law did not always coincide with ideas of justice for those who were entangled in them. The young adults did not see police, GBT or being involved in the criminal justice system as the main problem for the most part, but the issue of discrimination, police abuse, and unjust practices urged them to contest police authority: We are not enemies of the police, he is also working for bread, but he should not offend us. If you want to take men take me in, take my testimony, if I deserve it imprison me . . . But only if I deserve it.90 But the condition of ‘deserving’ to be imprisoned was also not straightforward. The Interviewee no. 24 explains an incident he was



involved in, as an example of the perception of injustice perpetrated by the police officers: I was walking and heard that there was something going on at the municipality. The person was an acquaintance of mine, and I went to break the fight. I was telling them to let go of him, he had gone there to ask for his rights [ . . . ] He is in prison now. He went there to ask why he was laid off from his job, and to ask for his compensation. He gave his five years as a worker for the municipality. When he was laid off, he took a blank gun, even just to scare them into giving him his compensation or taking him back. He goes up; they throw him out kicking and hitting. He goes back swearing at them, asking why they laid him off. Give me my compensation. Then the police arrive, that is when he called me for help asking me to go pick him up. I went there to pick him up. The police are there with their hand batons, 5 of them. With my arrival 8 – 9 teams arrive. Here it is like that, as soon as I start fighting, even just a quarrel, police come. I put him into the car, the police took him out, I put him back, the police took him out. I said look brother he did nothing, nobody got hurt. He just wanted his compensation, defended his right, just let me take him, I said. As the police acted that way he got annoyed and fired 2 – 3 shots in the air. They took him to the police station and not me. They knew that I had nothing to do with it. At the station the captain asked who was involved, and they said I was there. They took me and charged me with being his accomplice. Crime: Active resistance to police, aggravated assault on the municipality, destroying the evidence . . . If you end up there with a small event, they charge you with aggravated assault. The young men were still negotiating the laws, and did not comply with an authority, which did not distribute justice. This perception was reinforced by the injustices of the police and criminal justice institutions, which were reproduced in different ways through the



new policing strategy of ‘harassment’. Especially its violence on the youth had become more and more unbearable: We were sitting in a bar in Narlıdere, and as we were driving back we heard a police siren. We stopped and as soon as we stopped they started beating us. They arrested us for resisting police authority. We were released. We got their license plates and petitioned to the attorney’s office. Now whenever they see us they stop and search us. All the police officers here know us.91 The youth identified the practices of police officers in the neighbourhood as ‘provocation’: ‘We are very tolerant. They provoke’, one of them claimed.92 Another young man complained: ‘They provoke us.’93 Interviewee no. 24 also used the same word, ‘provoke; and added: ‘The police say I am stronger.’ A story of Interviewee no. 40 demonstrates a case of ‘provocation’: One day, one of them was following me on foot and put his hand on me. I asked him what he was doing, take back your hand, and search me if you want to. In the back, he started to search me. He did things that cannot be told. When I am walking my dog, they walk after me. All these are just to provoke me; so that I resist authority. The provocation, according to the interviewees, was intentional, a part of their daily practices. In turn, there was an obvious relation between the ‘harassment’ strategy and resistance it provoked, as was also pointed in the previous chapter. The extent of harassment of the youth was repeatedly expressed in the interviews: ‘There is control everywhere. When they see us they search us to the insides of our shoes’, claimed Interviewee no. 24, who had a long criminal record. His brother, although had no criminal record, was also harassed. In response to constant harassment by the police, they were trying to stay away from the streets: ‘I always stay at home. I do not get involved in anything.’ The harassment in the public square, according to the young men, was unbearable:



We stay there 20 minutes in front of the coffeehouse. We speak with our friends. They come and claim that we cannot hang out there . . . We, of course continue to sit there. They get annoyed. All the youth hangs out there. This is I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨; there is no other place to hang out. We cannot be sitting in the side streets. Everybody has an honour to protect. Won’t they say, I have my honour inside, what are you doing here?94 The observation of another young man showed the extent of the ‘harassment’ in the neighbourhood: ‘They treat the criminal and the innocent the same way. They do ID controls to the point that you cannot tolerate it. Wherever we hang out in the back area, they come and check for IDs. We are treated like we are criminals. You can understand from the way they speak. They speak to offend. They can speak with respect.’95 An older man also recognized the difference: ‘It was not like this before they were given new powers.’96 He located the change in the new police regulations, which coincided with the new public order policing in Izmir. For the police, harassing the already known criminals had its advantages. It was the shortest way to ‘solve’ the problem of crime, or create a situation that constitutes crime, thus in turn allowing the achievement of higher performance points and bonuses. As a growing crime, resisting the authority of a police officer has been an important part of the ‘harassment’ strategy of the police. If someone resisted, it gave the police the right to detain the person. During detention, a much deeper investigation and questioning could take place. Central to new policing in Izmir, ‘harassment’ is a criminalizing strategy. The police focus on those who already had criminal records (and many young men of Tepe did). Since the same police officers and patrol teams constantly monitor neighbourhoods, it is quite easy to know who had already been in prison, and who had large criminal files. Their GBT searches may always bring out other warrants, court orders, and parole violations. Also, they are easy targets, ‘reasonable suspects’ to accuse of crimes, as will be explained in the next section.



At the same time, the strategy of ‘harassment’ allowed the police to re-establish their authority that was long undermined, especially in politically dissident areas like Tepe. The formation of the police authority and police brutality went hand in hand. Any objection to police, as respondents in Narlıdere mention, was met with police brutality. As one of the young respondents claimed, ‘If you try to antagonize the police, they will definitely be aggressive.’97 In fact, being a part of the ‘target population’ or a suspect was sufficient to incite police brutality. The ‘target populations’, as Interviewee no. 19 pointed out, were almost exclusively the poor: ‘The disproportionate force of the police is always put on the poor and powerless: the police are afraid of those who really deserve torture, do not do anything to them.’ He was talking about a recent case where the police murdered a man by kicking him at a park, where the victim was simply hanging out. The police authority in Narlıdere had another specific target too: Tepe youth. Older generations in Tepe were not subject to the same treatment as younger people. An older interviewee explains the difference between the position of the older and younger generations: ‘The police search us as well, from time to time. But we say “okay” to whatever they say. Young men are different. They react.’98 Police in Tepe particularly harassed the young men. This was not only about generational discipline and docility, however, or the masculinity of the youth. As I will disuss below, this was more so related to the question of authority and of the political identities. Older generations and their political identities were defined and established; but that of the youth was still in the making. The police tried vehemently to establish their authority over the youth and thus the authority of the state over the resistant Kurdish populations. Their political identities were at stake in their encounters with the police. Among the youth, the police interacted with and harassed mostly the males in the neighbourhood, not women, as mentioned early on in this chapter. This was not just the choice of police, but a mandate of Tepe’s patriarchal culture of over-protecting and controlling women. When asked about the girlfriends of an interviewee, he responded passionately:



The police can take my life but cannot take a girl from me . . . If he tries to take a girl who is with us we will kill him. Even if she is only our girlfriend, we need to protect her. There is no trusting the police.99 In turn, Tepe’s young men were much more aware than anybody else of the new policing and the criminalizing effect of harassing: ‘They are provoking us. I believe that if the police did not come up to this Tepe and harass people, there would be no incident, no crime, no complaint.’100 Once a safe space for them, Tepe had become much more violent. From the perspective of young people in Tepe, the instigators of this violence in Izmir were not criminals, but the police. They were brutalized and victimized by the police, not by crime. The young man revealed the source of the violence: ‘Since Hu¨seyin C¸apkın came it has been like this. They turned Izmir into Istanbul. They killed how many people? They shot and killed the son of a businessman. They shot how many friends from their feet.’101 Continuity between the old and new policing: Extra-legality From the perspective of Tepe, the new policing did not fully get rid of its old practices, and neither had it claimed to do so. Instead, it integrated some of its indispensible elements to the new concerns of professionalism, preventive policing and police effectiveness. Extralegal practices that eroded the legitimacy of the police continued to be utilized in catching and handling criminals. Extra-legality is integral to modern police institutions. As Benjamin suggests, the police occupy an ambiguous space in the criminal justice system. It is not solely a law enforcement institution, but it moulds the law through its practices in everyday life. Thus, it occupies a semi-autonomous space.102 Following this, the Public Order Police in Tepe made the law, each time it encountered its ‘target populations’. Extra-legality was integral to the process of criminalization in Tepe. Some old practices were being abandoned. For instance, as explained in the previous chapter, it was no longer possible to let insignificant events slide, due to the zero-tolerance strategy. Moreover, small crimes



and offenses constituted good performance indicators as well as pathways to other criminals. The professionalization of the police through performance evaluations motivated policemen to intervene in such small events, and on suspect persons. Yet, as the young men of the neighbourhood explain, these pathways and interventions were not always legal. One recurrent theme in the interviews in Tepe was about the police’s efforts to create informants as a method to find criminals. Harassment and ID checks were quite unproductive in constructing those networks, as they placed the police against the community. The police often promised to provide protection from legal action to those who collaborated. All young men in Tepe explained in a similar fashion how they were approached by police officers to be their informants: ‘They tell you “help us and we won’t touch you.” They provide you all kinds of opportunities’, though the interviewee did not specify what.103 Another interviewee suggested: They let the people go even if they find something on him. But they let him go – whatever it may be, gun, knife, search warrant, or something else. They do whatever serves them . . . It is not related to the power of those people. [The police] are cunning . . . For instance, I have a search warrant on me, I go to the police and say ‘brother, look, let me go and I will give you a job.’ For instance there is this much dope at this place, this person will do this at this hour. This kind of stuff . . .104 In forming good relations with residents a ‘good cop/bad cop’ distinction was employed. As the same young man stated, ‘some of them give you advice. Some will always harass you.’ He continued: Let’s say, me and you are on good terms. I like you, I do not incite you, offend you in front of everybody. But instead I call another one, announce and say ‘look, X is here sitting, come and disturb him.’ The policemen who we have good relations with want to keep it that way, but let the others do the job of harassing. Thank god, not all of them are bad.



To establish trust and thankfulness, police sometimes simply let people go even when they found a criminal situation. There are times that they don’t do anything, they let me do things, they caught me with stuff but let me go. If they were really working for the state, they would arrest you. They would take me in. But because it is personal they are not. He does not arrest me to brainwash me, look he did not do anything to me, I will do something for him, and if I know about something I will phone him. They try to get close this way. Or sometimes they catch me with something. They say ok smoke this, but two days later I will come and record this. In two days he will come and make criminal charges. Or they catch something on me and say that I have too much on my record and take my friend instead. To make me feel thankful.105 In this respect, informal and personal relationships of the police in the neighbourhood still informed the policing practices, in spite of the professionalization attempts, and even in conjunction with them. Extra-legality took other forms as well. The police arbitrarily arrested and charged Tepe residents. Hanging out with the ‘wrong’ people could also make turn one into a criminal: If they see a clean kid with me, a kid who has no prior criminal record even in the police station, in two days you realize they fabricate a record . . . For instance, there is an incident and the kid is passing by. They take the kid and accuse him of the incident, you were passing by . . . Instead of integrating him into society, and they exclude him. They turn all of them into criminals.106 Moreover, those who already have criminal records and are known to the police claim that they are constantly accused of crimes they did not commit: They find a stash somewhere 100 meters away from where you stand. They come and say: ‘How do I know this is not yours?’



I would say it was me who put it there, I don’t lie. They fabricated 6 – 7 criminal record like this. Not all my record is my own doing. Once we were sitting in the park. We were drinking. The police came, they had found a stash and a knife far from where we were. It was a bush, they found it as if they had put it there themselves. Even if they had narcotic dogs they would not be able to. We were sitting there, 4 – 5 people, and the policeman chose three of us and did nothing to others. He took us. They forced us to accept it and we had to.107 Once integrated into the criminal justice system, one became more susceptible to the police’s extra-legal interventions. Without any legitimate reasoning, Tepe’s youth with criminal records were arrested and charged: There was a theft here in front of the municipality, I happened to pass by. If they see me passing they say either you did it or you made somebody do it . . . My brother was in the prison and they kept telling me that I should confess that it was my brother who gave the orders. The man had not given me orders, and there are others who have admitted that they committed the theft. They put me in punishment. I was arrested and imprisoned for 68 days in Bergama. I was given five years of imprisonment. I had nothing to do with it. Now I am waiting for the higher court decision.108 As it was more urgent to catch criminals, the police used any means to establish a criminal situation: produce evidence, force testimony, torture, etc. According to the interviewees, the police operated through an economy of record making to fulfil quotas and to score performance points. In turn, the youth have a moral economy of their own. Sometimes they admit to a crime for their friends; or their friends cover for them. Even though the courts release many of those arrested, the points of the police are given on the basis of arrests. So, the police officers make arrests as much as possible:



[The police] exaggerate your criminal record. They charge you with things you have no relation to. For instance there is a robbery, and the robber leaves footprints. I have no idea what is going on. The police come and look at the bottom of your shoe . . . and say: ‘Here! This is the same footprint.’ Ridiculous. Then they take you to the court . . .109 Interviewee no. 40 was explicit about the criminalization process and the expanded extra-legality in the neighbourhood as a new police strategy: These things did not use to happen 2 – 3 years ago. The police were really honest. If you did something, they would take you and then let you go. Now we are afraid to go into the station. You go in there for one thing and you see they have put four more records on you. Suspect person . . . They bring a witness and they say you look like this one, so they put that file on you as well. We are afraid to go to the station, we really are. The new and professionalized public order policing practices rested on harassment and brutality alongside other extra-legal practices that criminalized Tepe youth. These were also their means of containing the Tepe neighbourhood. Instead of eliminating extra-legality, the police continued to rely on it. In effect, extra-legal practices of the public order police were a part of the criminalization of Tepe youth. Alongside GBT searches and continuous patrol of streets, the use of harassment as a zero-tolerance strategy, the police produced evidence, relied on informants, created an economy of criminal records, and in some cases used torture and violence in its fight against crime. Policing, criminalization, depoliticization The new public order policing in Izmir placed Tepe and its young men under the continuous surveillance and control of the criminal justice system. Unlike lower Narlıdere, Tepe’s residents, through either experiencing or witnessing, understood the changes instituted by the new patrol police and policing strategies. The shift was clear.



In recent years, the police started to even ‘search little kids, and go into the mosque and search the imam.’110 Unlike the affluent neighbourhoods that ‘respectable citizens’ inhabit and populate, Tepe was a space where the aggressive policing demanded by the preventive, zero-tolerance strategies took place. For young Kurdish men, the moment of being outside home posed a danger of an unpleasant encounter with the police. Even individuals who talked of the police’s ineffectiveness and lack of powers recognized the expanded police control over the ‘target populations’. Those who had witnessed police in both their own space and affluent parts of the city confidently asserted: ‘The patrol officers’ behaviour in Alsancak and around here is very different. They treat people here as second-class citizens.’111 Once a space of their own, except for sporadic police searches as a part of the political repression of Kurds, Tepe had become a ‘prison’, a ‘quarantine’: ‘The moment you step out of your home, you are under the control of the penal hand of the state,’ claimed a young resident.112 Tepe and its residents, especially the youth, were subjects of the criminalizing practices of the Izmir Public Order Police, and in turn, of the penal state. To talk of criminalization does not mean that crime did not exist. Indeed, Tepe youth committed crimes. All of my interviewees from Tepe either had been imprisoned, or somebody from their family had been. One of the neighbourhood headmen confirms the extent to which many residents are in prison. He lists reasons: ‘resisting police authority, marijuana, theft.’113 Another man, who is politically active in the neighbourhood, claims: ‘Half of the young men of Tepe are already in prison. All of them have criminal files composed of 50 –60 records. Lengthy files, pages long . . . ’.114 The young men with whom I have interviewed in the neighbourhood also had been to prison, or at least, detained, for theft, kapkac, drugs, manslaughter, not attending the court, fraud, etc.115 Their personal histories of crime started when they were kids. And since then it had exponentially expanded in the files of the police stations. ‘Many pages’ one of them said. This particular young man’s criminal record had started very early on:



It was 1998 or 99. I was 11 or 12. There was a night bazaar, behind the bazaar there was a candy factory. With other kids I went there and took candies. We went home. But one of our friends was caught and gave all our names. It was late at night; the police took me. You don’t beat a child that age like that. They kick you and then step on you. They hit the ones who don’t give them information, they seat the ones who did across from us and serve them teas. Then we were taken to the court. I was not imprisoned they let us go. It was not even three days they took me in again. This time it was another theft incident in a candy store. They caught all the same people, but this time it was not us. We were already scared.116 Once integrated into the criminal justice system, getting out seemed improbable: We have nothing to do with [the police]. I would be lying if I said we were not involved in these, and we stopped as we realize it was not possible even if we wanted to. We retreated, now they don’t give us peace. I have had no incidents since 2005 – not a new one that is. There is no fight I was involved in, at least not one that was intervened on by police. But they constantly take me to the station because of my earlier actions. Your testimony, your court, your that, your this.117 While some of the youth in Tepe had contact with the criminal justice system, with the new policing practices, the level of criminalization and penalization became unprecedented and was felt by the majority of youth: When the three districts were united, Narlıdere became the target. There is not much going on Balc ova or Gu¨zelbahc e. All the police come here. Now 30– 40 friends are in prison. The other day a friend of mine was sentenced to 20 years. There was a usurpation incident in Istanbul when the guy was in Haydarpas¸a prison at that time. They accused him of



something that took place after he went into prison; they also accuse him of that. There are tons of friends like this. There are no young people in Tepe anymore. They took them all in, some died. One of them was killed for instance. The police are supposed to catch him, he hides behind a trash box, and the steel bullet goes through the box and hits him in the head. You don’t use steel bullets even for animals. They are shooting to kill . . . This place during 1990s was too much. The people are not around anymore. There are none left in the streets. They have been oppressing us unmercifully for the last two years. This C¸apkın came and I went to prison for almost two years.118 As an interviewee form the Tepe suggested, there was also a shift in what was being policed: Nowadays, the police here do not target political crime that much, what they focus on right now is the drug business. Since Tayyip119 this has been the way . . . in Tepe too most of the people inside the prisons have been involved in drugs. Nowadays everybody is more careful. The last 2 years the police are much more interested in drugs.120 For a long time, nothing was done to prevent crime in the area. In this way, crime ‘was promoted amongst the youth.’121 A teacher also observed: ‘From 1992 to 2003, nothing was done to the criminals, and this way it was promoted.’122 A Turkish interviewee claimed: Because the shantytown is Kurdish, the police have a different attitude. Because [the residents] are not against terror, in order to keep them away from terror it is said that whatever these people do is fine as long as they are not PKK-sympathizers. No reaction is given to crime gangs or marijuana, which is widespread even at the level of middle schools.123 Another interviewee explained how the police watched the Kurdish residents fight and kill each other in the past: ‘The day of



confrontation, the police come and line up down here until the event is over. They only observe whoever kills whom. After the event is over they make a tour once and leave.’124 He was framing the noninterventionist attitude of the police as an example of racist negligence. In this sense, the negligence and corruption, as well as the processes of criminalization discussed in the previous sections were interpreted in a different manner, as a strategy of depoliticization. Depoliticization here is used not in the sense of making populations in question apolitical subjects. The effect of criminalization might produce both: distancing people from such engagement in political action, or otherwise. It can politicize and reinforce one’s position as a political subject. Depoliticization, as I employ it here, is concerned with ideology, which strips an issue of its political content. It naturalizes the subject matter into a problem of mere criminality and transfers the responsibility to the institutions of crime (police, prisons, courts, security systems, surveillance technologies, rehabilitative methods, etc.). Depoliticization allows for the debasement of populations who are implicated in criminality. Therefore, it goes along with a racializing effect in as much as it locates that criminality in the cultural, ethnic, racial, inherent and natural composition of those particular populations. The Izmir police’s continuous surveillance of the Kurdish teenagers was associated with the need to control in an apolitical guise. Many politically active residents also saw a process of depoliticization as a process of the production of apolitical subjects. One of the Kurdish interviewees, who had experienced the state violence during the 1980s, explained the process of depoliticization: In this country, the primary reason for the rise of mugging and theft is the destruction of the left. They took away people’s identities from them. They repressed the politics and tolerated other things. The rise in crime is also supported by the Kurds. They continued to protect the criminals, saying ‘they are at least from us.’125 As many others suggested, with the lack of a political organization that could organize the potential of the youth in an increasingly



marginalized shantytown, depoliticization was inevitable: ‘As political groups and organizations lost their powers here, and individualization of the people took place, young men started to become involved in crime.’126 Accordingly, common crime and politics were mostly positioned in opposition to each other. One of the neighbourhood headmen, who had been in Tepe since 1971 and was politically involved since then, explains that there has been a shift in two categories of criminality: From the perspective of the state, political crime is declining. There are specific names they surveil them constantly. But there is a rise in incidences such as theft. The balance is disturbed. In the past, the residents would control each other. Now, one smokes cigarettes, weed, heroin, or steals, he or she is not afraid of anybody. Due to the density of the population . . . In the past the neighbours who came from same towns would watch out for each other. Now the parents are working due to economic reasons and the kids are out in the streets without parental control. The kid will be smoking right here on the wall. Instead of political activities, there is degeneration. During the 1980s, ¨ zal, everybody announced their through the policies of O freedoms. During the 1970s everybody was in solidarity; with the September 12 policies everyone was intimidated. People were channelled into snitching on each other and people got tired.127 The older generations who had more politically established relations with the Kurdish movement had a deep sense of loss for the youth, the generations that came after them. It is evident in their perceptions. One of the older interviewees, for instance, says: ‘Most of them are hooked to marijuana. The police did this with their own hands. Now they have started to take everybody in.’128 Another one sees the permissiveness of the state as evidence of a strategy of depoliticization: ‘Those who did this [robbery] were from us [Kurds]. Steal if you want or do kapkac as long as you don’t go back to your



roots.’129 Thus, they see crime as a way to assimilate, to depoliticize the Kurdish migrants who would otherwise hold on to their identities, through which Kurdish politics is organized. Moreover, Kurdish people were increasingly feeling the contradictions of inequality and legacy of violence in the cities, combined with being stripped of their political identities through criminalization: [The Kurdish people] were exiled and spread to metropolises, and assimilated. ‘Love it or leave it,’ they say; we had to leave . . . Coming here [Kurds] were forced into crime. Out of a family of ten people, 3 – 5 of the children go into theft. Then they are caught, yet there is no interrogation at the police station. Then the police go to the kids and ask for what they have and seize parts of what they stole. They did not want the kids to know their identities, but to emulate the bourgeoisie, even their shoes . . . The kids look at the bourgeoisie and steal; it is the only way to get what they aspire for.130 The younger generations’ involvement in crime had subjected them to a different form of police oppression and control. It was more about the intervention of the police in everyday life, of the young Kurdish men in particular and of the neighbourhood in general. While the process of criminalizing Kurdish youth was different than that of older generations, in between the lines, the political aspect of the criminalization was made visible. Kurdish youth, even though they may not have been involved in politics, were naturally a part of the politically ‘dangerous populations’. According to Interviewee no. 40, who insisted that he and his friends were apolitical, their identity made them inherently politically dangerous: In fact [the police] are intimidating us; if you do any little thing that might be political they threaten to charge you with terror, with political crime. If they do so you have no way to redeem yourself. You are tortured. They won’t let you defend yourself. Nobody will listen. If they are breaking my rib today for not providing an ID, I wonder what they do to those



politically charged. I do not know if they will shoot me in the head; throw me to a distant desolate area.131 In ‘Deadly Symbiosis,’ Wacquant conceptualizes criminalization and penalization as mechanisms of depoliticization of the ‘black question’ in the US.132 He claims: The prison offered itself as a viable vehicle of resolving the ‘black question’ after the crisis of the ghetto – that is, for reformulating it in a way that both makes it invisible and redefines it under new disguise: crime, ‘welfare dependency’, and ‘the underclass’.133 During the heydays of the black ghetto, blacks were confined yet politically organized in their communities. Dissolution of the social– political communities in the black ghetto and the weakening of the economy of the ghetto prepared and sometimes rested on the criminalization of the black populations. Criminalization was both a result and a means of depoliticization.134 The story of Tepe is quite similar to the black ghettos Wacquant explores in his work. Tepe neighbourhoods today are squeezed between the political control and public order policing. Not only the neighbourhood, but also the life stories of residents were entangled in the security organizations and violence of the state, through the police and armed forces in the cities and villages where they came from. Their lives have been under the strains of the state security institutions. The father of Interviewee no. 24, for instance, was imprisoned in the infamous Diyarbakır prison during its most violent period, 1980 – 3. He was not a politically active person, had not been involved in politics, yet he was put in the prison for three years, and at the end he was released. He had migrated to Diyarbakır from a village because he was forced to become a vigilante working for the Turkish Army. His sons in Izmir were in and out of prisons, mostly due to common crimes. Interviewee no. 29 had been to prison due to his political activities; his daughter fled the country before being imprisoned under the Anti-Terror Law. One of his sons was in



the prison for political reasons. Interviewee no. 21 had been detained many times when he migrated to Izmir. He migrated due to the war, violence, family problems, economic problems, and a desire to have a better life. Coming to the West, he was still managed by the security apparatus, especially the police. He explained: ‘People who are from the East always get into trouble with the police. I have too many; which one of them should I tell?’135 His son and brother-in-law had been to prison too because of common crimes. Interviewee no. 43 ran away from political oppression in the Kurdish region; his son was killed by the police at the age of 18 as a criminal in Izmir.136 His other son went to prison for 11 months for ‘assisting a terrorist organization’. The man had experienced injustice all through his life, even though he did not have a politically active life: ‘There is no justice in Turkey. What is this court case?’ he sulked referring to the continuing court case of his son’s murder.137 The stories are many, but what they tell us is simple. State violence through its Law is an integral part of the personal histories of Kurdish people. Tepe’s residents are no exception to this. As one interviewee suggested, ‘The people here [in Tepe] are moulded by violence.’138 They have had too many encounters with the security apparatus of the state. Yet, the residents of Tepe, especially its youth, were going through a new process of criminalization. Even the older political residents saw them as ‘thugs’ and apolitical subjects. The youth, however, had another perspective. While they claimed to have nothing to do with politics, most were subjected to injustice and interpreted it in relation to their poverty and Kurdish identity. ‘All of them went in and out of prison. Because they are children of Tepe,’ said one young man.139

Conclusion: ‘Both thug and PKK’: Kurdish Youth as Dangerous Lumpenproletariat in the Neoliberal City As in many other neighbourhoods in Izmir, Tepe’s 2008 Newroz celebrations were marked by systematic police oppression. Before Newroz, many Kurdish leaders of the city, as well as organizing figures, were put under detention. During Newroz celebrations, the



police put the neighbourhoods under siege and attacked the communities attempting to gather for Newroz. In Tepe, too, police forces attacked the demonstrators. According to the residents, the police – both Public Order Teams and Rapid Action Units – had arrived in three big public buses to both squares of Tepe and tried to put out the fire. The crowd protested. In turn, police unleashed its force: they surrounded those around the fire, and pepper sprayed them. Gunshots were fired toward another group, wounding four people. Nobody was arrested at the time of the event. A month later, police raids were enacted by the anti-terror subdivision all over Izmir. Eight people in Tepe were then arrested in relation to Newroz events and placed in the new F-type prison in Izmir. Newroz days in Izmir and the disproportionate use of police force on the celebrations reveal the continuing political repression over the Kurdish populations. As Kurdishness has been equated with terror, Tepe is still seen as a political space to be subjected to the control of the security forces. In addition to poverty and unemployment, the experiences of young Kurdish men and their families are interwoven with the violence of the war and security forces, which associate Kurds with threats to national security. The new policing practices, which are directed towards common crimes, are in continuity with these experiences. However, there are also shifts. The terms of control since the introduction of new policing in Izmir have been quite apolitical. Through this chapter, I have tried to show the ways in which new policing practices in Izmir have been criminalizing younger generations of poor Kurdish migrants as apolitical common criminals, ‘thugs’ (and ‘psychopaths’) as part of the public order policing strategy. The new public order policing, in this way, has been revising political control by incorporating an apolitical control of common crimes. Not only terror but also the criminality of Kurdish migrants informs the police and its regulation practices. The politics of the new public order policing rest on the construction of the Kurdish youth as ‘both scum and PKK’, as one of my young respondents was referred to in the police station. Yet another respondent recalled the police saying: ‘all the scum comes out of there [Tepe]. You [Kurds] spoiled the



homeland’,140 indicating the double meaning of Kurdishness: the Kurdish youth are being constituted as the degenerate criminals and ‘thugs’, while their Kurdishness is still inherently associated with terror. Their policing envelops and operates on the basis of both these identifications. What characterizes the regulation of the Kurds is not just their political identities, but also their positions in neoliberal economies. With the gradual decline of an organized working class and the shrinking of the formal job market and secure employment opportunities, the economic conditions of the Kurdish migrants has gravely deteriorated. In neoliberal Narlıdere, which has also been going through a thorough transformation, the antagonisms between the middle classes and the Kurdish poor inhabiting Tepe were further underlined. Kurdish youth of Tepe are today being constituted as the lumpenproletariat of the neoliberal Narlıdere, posing criminal and political dangers to its order. In its new strategies of policing, Izmir Public Order Police targets Tepe and its youth, and in this way operates a new regulatory mechanism to control a disorderly lumpenproletariat. It utilizes new technologies, expanded power and legal and extra-legal mechanisms to maintain a strong grasp and control over Kurdish youth. Izmir’s professionalized police officers also defend their own personal interests by creating order and catching criminals. Thus, they willingly harass, intervene, stop, and provoke the youth. The regulatory framework, through which a segment of labouring populations in neoliberal Izmir are racialized and depoliticized, relies on the penal/security organs when dealing with the poor. The new police criminalize the youth and incorporate them into the penal apparatus, meanwhile ameliorating their relations with the ‘respectable citizens’.


During the 2013 Gezi Uprisings that took place all around Turkey and lasted almost a month, the Turkish National Police was a central actor with its excessive use of force. For some protestors, the police violence was the motivation for being on the street, as one of the faces of authoritarian practices of the Turkish government. Leading up to the uprisings, the government was increasingly intervening in the secular lifesytles, repressing street politics; preventing freedom of expression and of assembly among other authoritarian tendencies. The police’s disproportionate use of force was the symbol of such tendencies. Indeed, to stop the demonstrations the police excessively used tear gas, water cannons (sometimes with chemical content or painted), mostly plastic (but sometimes real) ammunition, detentions, and beatings from its repertoire of force. As a direct result of police violence during Gezi, 11 people were killed and more than 8,000 injured. Spectacular as it was during the Gezi uprising, repression of street politics by the police or its excessive use of force is nothing new in Turkey, or around the world. Moreover, police violence, as I tried to show in this book is not reserved to just quell political dissent. It an everyday matter that is utilized for so-called common criminals. The populations that are targeted are not just the political opponents of the government that take streets as their sites of struggle but also the criminalized urban poor populations. Again, Turkey is



not alone: the increasing use of force, technologically reinforced policing, penal intervention, surveillance systems, has been a recurring feature of the states around the world which have been relying on penal/security apparatus for controlling both the political and criminalized ‘enemies’ of the neoliberal order. In turn, neoliberalism is not just an economic paradigm that defends market freedoms against state intervention; it also, perhaps more importantly, entails a new politics of order, new regulatory schemes and governmental technologies to maintain its accumulation regime. The transformations of the neoliberal state, the new forms of governance, surveillance, and control it incorporates to its operations have been examined by scholars on a variety of contexts. It has been argued that while the state pulls away from its social spending and offers an extensive array of freedoms to capital, it simultaneously expands its security mechanisms and penal functions. The regulation of the urban labouring classes, in turn, increasingly rests on the penal/security state and the social regulatory forms associated with it. More and more, the forms of regulation rest on the penality and policing, the expanded surveillance technologies, and the material and ideological consolidation of security apparatus of the state and thus stand in stark contrast to the reduction of public spending, elimination of welfare services, and the destruction of the social state. Not only the state, but also private actors are engaging in the new penal/security regulatory modes, accompanying the arising penal state if not contesting its monopoly of legitimate violence. The studies on the neoliberal state formation mostly derive from the developments in core capitalist countries, yet the peripheral and semi-peripheral states are also transforming, and in ways that are not always reflecting the core models. This book, concentrating on the case of Turkey, presents both the parallel developments with the core capitalist countries, and the diverging historical dynamics that have been shaping neoliberal penal/security forms in a semiperipheral setting. New surveillance technologies, new strategies of punishment and control, and new expanded policing have been incorporated into the regulatory schemes of the Turkish state, as in many other countries



around the world. In an effort to respond to and accommodate the neoliberal transformations, the Turkish state has imported new weaponry, adopted new technologies and strategies of force and control, which have been developed in the core, particularly in the US and the EU. The restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police, on which this book focuses, is an example of and reflects these larger global developments. Turkey’s neoliberal political economy is central to the institution of the penal/security arrangements since the 1980s. It has dissipated the organized working class and instituted a flexible labour market, engaged in financialization and privatization, reduced the social spending, abandoned developmentalist policies, and destructed the rural economies. In turn, new regulatory modes have been emerging, reflecting and accompanying these transformations. The emergence of the Izmir Public Order Police as an important actor in the formation and reproduction of neoliberal order, with new problems of unemployment and insecurity, is closely linked to these larger political economic transformations. Nonetheless, the neoliberal transformations alone are insufficient to explain the restructuring of police and the state in semi-peripheral countries, such as Turkey. This book argues that the history of the authoritarian state practices is also relevant to understanding contemporary penal/security forms in Turkey. The professionalized forms of control of the neoliberal state are linked, and in continuity with the authoritarian state formation. As the book shows, while the democratization paradigm placed important challenges to the operations of the authoritarian state, the current practices do not fully replace or eliminate the authoritarian mechanisms, but reconfigures them with more careful and effective applications of violence. In this reconfiguration, the fight against crime plays an important ideological role. Since 2006 the Izmir Public Order Police, which deals with common crimes, has been restructured in becoming a more effective crime-fighting agency. This restructuring parallels the new mentalities and strategies of the neoliberal state formations and their security practices. On the one hand, the Izmir police professionalize and improve technological capacities of the police officers. On the



other hand, they expand their control and violence over the criminalized segments of the city’s poor populations, employing an aggressive policing strategy to deal with petty crimes and criminals. For the effective application of this strategy, the Izmir police department professionally manages and controls the police officers with new performance evaluation schemes and technologies that oversee their practices. As argued through this book, the recent evolution of the new forms of policing in Izmir (now being extended to other cities) that were instituted in 2006 is not without a history. The neoliberal police of Izmir are not detached from, but rather connected to the militarized and anti-democratic workings of the Turkish state. The authoritarian state has consolidated its unchecked powers in fundamental ways especially since the 1980s. The Law in Turkey is shaped by authoritarian and militarist practices that are aimed at containing political dissidence. It can be argued that the authoritarianism that was utilized by the developmental regimes, which used the promise of economic growth, modernity, and national unity as its project, continues in different ways in the present moment through the control and policing of common criminality. In the midst of democratization discourses invested by the state, authoritarian methods continue to be part of regulatory practices in the neoliberal era. New policing in Izmir reflects the professionalization and modernization of the Turkish police, yet as the book shows the violence is not eliminated but strategically relocated over the ‘target populations’, composed of racialized segments of the urban poor. While the restructuring transformed the Izmir police, forms of policing are still in continuity with the authoritarian state in Turkey, albeit taking new forms and utilizing new technologies and strategies. As this book explains, the ideologies of growing urban crime, and the presence of ‘dangerous populations’ in the midst of ‘innocent citizens’ are what legitimize the new politics materialising in these new police practices. By producing gregarious crime discourses about rising crime and violence in the cities perpetrated by poor ethno-racial migrants, the media, the police and various



criminologists engage in an orchestration of public opinion against criminals. Since the mid-1990s, the Turkish media have repeatedly raised the alarm that Turkey is beset by a dangerous urban crime wave, fabricating a fear of crime and criminals. By offering an analysis of criminals and sources of the crime wave, these stories constitute criminological knowledges for neoliberal urban contexts. In these criminologies, the migrants inhabiting the varos¸ neighbourhoods constitute the main threat to the respectable city dwellers. In particular, Kurdish migrants are singled out. They allegedly disrupt the order of the city, first with their political unrest, and then in their involvement in criminal activities. The cities in turn are depicted as being under the invasion of criminals, who are an outside threat, coming from the ‘East’. Crime is perceived to be committed by a new dangerous class, who are ethno-racially and spatially marked in the city. Crime, the book follows, is not simply an irrefutable reality, but a discursive and ideological mechanism. It does not merely express an incident, but serves to legitimize the particular state responses. Criminalizing discourses have real effects. They legitimize penal arrangements in the regulation and reproduction of segments of the poor labouring classes, and open up opportunities for intervening both in the city and its ‘undesirables’ through the policing and security apparatus. The crime discourses in Turkey also entailed a further challenge to the police forces, indicating their inability to fight crime effectively, and a police crisis crystallized. The TNP responded by turning this challenge upside down. They diligently argued that the police were ineffective because their powers were taken away through the democratization process and the legal limitations placed on the policing processes. The TNP, in this way, used the discourses about the rise in urban crime to its advantage. To further consolidate its power, the police force reinvented itself as a crime-fighting agency; as one properly equipped with the tools to deal with the ‘dangerous criminals’. This required new technologies, new legal powers, a new outlook and new strategies that allowed for the remaking of the police as a legitimate force against crime. In place of democratizing the police practices, professionalization and



modernization became the keywords for the reinvention and restructuring of the police. Moreover, the reproduction and circulation of crime ideologies in Turkey since the mid-1990s have defined criminality as a cultural problem while downplaying or fully neglecting the social contradictions and relations that lie beneath it. In this sense, the success of the crime discourses lies not only in shaping the perspective of the ‘respectable citizens’ but also in the transfer of the feelings of insecurity in neoliberal urban contexts into a mere threat of criminality. Establishing a discursive connection between crime and the impoverished urban poor populations delinks sociopolitical processes of neoliberalism from the conditions of the urban poor, and redresses the structural antagonisms in individual crime stories and in cultures, which allegedly produce crime. The process of defining certain acts as ‘criminal’ is a way of stripping them of their social and political context and thus depoliticizing the question. By conceptualizing crime as a socio-political relationship, historically constituted by economic, political and social processes, the book takes up a reading of urban crimes and policing in the history of neoliberal transformations and the Kurdish question, both of which have been formative in the new authoritarian state practices in Turkey. More specifically, it argues that the new public order policing that is taking shape as a response to growing crime panic in Turkey, should be seen in relation to the longer history of authoritarian regulatory modes in Turkey. The objects of the authoritarian state history in Turkey and the subjects of new policing in neoliberal Turkey also convey the linkages and continuities. The history of authoritarian state, especially after the mid-1980s, has been particularly shaped with respect to the Kurdish question. The state consolidated its power and authority over the Kurdish populations first in the Kurdish region through its war on PKK. Yet, the Kurdish migration to the Western cities changed the dynamics of the problem and its control for the Turkish state. The new policing and the restructuring of the police forces, in this sense, can also be seen as a response to the changing dynamics of



the Kurdish question. In dealing with criminalized Kurdish migrant populations, the Izmir police utilize its professionalized and modernized force with claims to legitimacy. The fight against crime whose objects are the racialized labouring poor opened up a legitimate space to reconfigure and reinforce state authority, which was undermined through the democratization process and human rights discourses. Constituting the most precarious labour force and largely excluded from the formal labour market, the Kurdish migrants in large western cities of neoliberal Turkey increasingly became the target of an emergent politics of crime. In Izmir, this politics of crime has materialized through a newly restructured public order police. The new strategy of the Izmir police was one of zero-tolerance towards the city’s marginalized poor, extending the control and violence over their existence, while it presented itself as a service organization for the city’s ‘respectable citizens’ who were argued to be victimized by the crime and disorder, by the criminals and ‘psychopaths’. Alongside an institutional study of the restructuring of the Izmir Public Order Police, this book demonstrates the practices and processes of criminalization through the new politics of crime in neoliberal Izmir with the ethnographic study in Narlıdere and Tepe. The neighbourhood study also provides a perspective from below into the practices of criminalization and institutional transformations. The positions of the Kurdish residents, who largely belong to the ‘target populations’ category by the Izmir police, with respect to the state violence and neoliberal political economy underlines the historical and structural dimensions of crime and criminalization. The interviews with the more affluent lower Narlıdere residents replicate the media and police discourses of crime, specifically pointing to the Tepe residents as sources of crime. The rapid transformation of Narlıdere since the late 1990s shaped by neoliberal urbanism extenuates the differences between lower Narlıdere with its increasingly middle-class composition, and Tepe with its increasing poverty and unemployment. This polarization is dangerous, yet the danger is mostly understood as a criminal threat coming from Tepe.



Thus, the intervention of the police was deemed appropriate as in the rest of the city. The perspective of the Kurdish youth of Tepe, presented in the book, shows in detail what the police do in criminalized spaces and to criminalized populations. ‘Digging’ the streets and harassing the ‘target’ Kurdish youth, the police not only receive bonus points for their professional performance, but also further criminalize the youth. The youth in Tepe is redundant in neoliberal Izmir. They are no more a part of an organized working class, or the formal labour market. There are hardly any jobs that appeal to or satisfy their changing needs as they closely observe the luxurious lives of the middle classes. Crime is sometimes a solution to these conditions. Yet, it is also the practices of police that increasingly place them in the hands of penal state. While the Tepe populations have long been the subjects of political and structural violence, and of the security institutions of the state, the youth and their everyday lives are more and more controlled through new policing practices that aim to eliminate common crimes. Once the political subjects, new generations of Kurdish migrants in neoliberal Izmir are in this way being constituted as the lumpenproletariat, who are regulated through police and prisons. Only partially integrated to the large neoliberal informal economy, the youth experience marginalized positions in Narlıdere, which itself is going through a real estate boom that amplifies the inequalities and polarities over the urban space. From the interviews in Tepe, the book suggests that the political history of the construction of Kurdish populations as the sources of ‘terror’ is currently joined by the new constructions of criminality of Kurdish youth. The Kurdish migrants are not only ‘terrorists’ but also ‘thugs’ and ‘criminals’. Thus, the neoliberal state formation entails a new subject formation. In this case, Kurdish youth marginalized from the labour market and politically uncontained by the Kurdish politics, are being constituted as the ‘thugs’ and ‘psychopaths’, who commit crimes and defy authority, and in this way, are being racialized (in ways that are different than earlier forms of racializaiton of Kurds) and depoliticized. More properly



put, the positions and conditions of the Kurdish youth in neoliberal Izmir are being reduced to a criminal rather than political category. Yet, the inherent political danger with which Kurdishness is associated complicates this reduction, and in fact allows us to see the current politics of crime in relation to the longer history of the oppression of Kurdish populations. This book suggests that criminalization processes today imply new ways of racializing the Kurdish people in Turkey. Thus, it describes the new subjection strategies of the state. This, I think, is an important problem and one that needs to be tackled further. The changing aspects of the Kurdish question, with the large-scale forced Kurdish migration are productive of new state responses, new forms of subjection as well as new subject formations and subjectivities. This book describes only one of the ways in which the state transformation and its practices of subjection of the Kurdish youth take place. The problem at hand requires detailed and extensive studies of the changing conditions of the Kurdish people, and youth in particular, and of the institutional and structural processes that shape their experiences that are different yet historically linked to the larger history of the Kurdish question. But, subject formation is also about the reaction of the subjects and their own agencies. It would be an error to see the state and other structural conditions as the sole actors in the production of subjects. Kurdish youth also have agencies and in their responses they shape their subjectivities. This book, especially in the final chapter, provides some clues to the questions of agency and subjectivity of the Kurdish youth. Yet, these clues are far from sufficient to understand the youth. There is a need for more theoretical and empirical analyses, which can provide us with better understanding of this issue. This is not just an academic issue but a real emergency. In addition, the book also contributes to the understanding of neoliberal state formation in Turkey. Yet, alongside the police, Turkey’s new prison facilities, laws, private security arrangements, surveillance systems, intelligence technologies, and so on, offer extensive sources to decipher the pieces of the jigsaw of the penal/ security state in Turkey. What we need is not simply documentation



of the penal/security inventory of the state, but historical and political examinations which can account for the functions, practices and meanings of these new pieces. Such studies would expand our knowledge of contemporary Turkey, and at the same time further our comparative understanding of the neoliberal penal/security formations around the world.


Introduction 1. Data retrieved from World Prison Brief (see, country/turkey), General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses (see, and Turkish Statistical Institute (see, http:// 2. See,¼238&nID¼31981&NewsCatID¼341 3. See, adliyesi_acildi 4. For the number of police personnel, see, For private security, data is retrieved from TNP Private Security Subdivision (see, http://sinavsonuc. Also see, Biriz G Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent and the construction of social body: Mapping the expansion and the militarization of the police organization in Turkey in the post-1980 period’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Istanbul: Bosphrous University, 2007), p. 80. 5. Stuart Hall et al., Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1978), p. viii. 6. Ibid. 7. Katherine Beckett and Bruce Western, ‘Governing social marginality: Welfare, incarceration, and the transformation of state policy’, Violence & Abuse Abstracts 7/3 (2001), pp. 163–252; David M. Downes and Kirstine Hansen, Welfare and Punishement: the Relationship between Welfare Spending and Imprisonment (London: Crime and Society Foundation, 2006); Loı¨c Wacquant, Urban Outcasts (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008). 8. Stuart A. Scheingold, ‘Introduction: Criminology and politization of crime and punishment’, in S. A. Scheingold (ed.), Politics, Crime Control and Culture



10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15.


17. 18. 19. 20.


(Brookfield, VM: Ashgate, Dartmouth, 1997), p. xi, emphasis in the original. Authoritarianism and authoritarian state form in this sense is not unique to the Turkish state but a common element in all modern nation-states. Authoritarianism can be seen as the property of the institutions, practices and mechanisms of a state. Yet, when a state in relation to its labouring poor, organized resistance, ‘internal enemies’, its dissent exclusively relies on such authoritarian forms rather than consent in the Gramscian sense, hence, the character of the state can be overwelmingly authoritarian. Western, or core capitalist countries, too, have relied on authoritarian forms, on the ‘undeserving’ especially during times of crisis, or as colonial powers on ‘lesser’ populations. But the liberal regimes which many western states established by the 1960s, where at least a certain segment of the labouring population was rewarded with protection from authoritarian arragements. This kind of regulation was maintained by largely western or core capitalist countries. Sungur Savran, ‘20. Yu¨zyılın Politik Mirası’, in N. Balkan and S. Savran (eds), Su¨rekli Kriz Politikaları (Istanbul: Metis, 2003). Ahmet H. Ko¨se, Fikret S¸enses and Erinc Yeldan (eds), Ku¨resel Du¨zen: Birikim, Devlet ve Sınıflar (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 2003); Ays¸e Bug˘ra and C¸ag˘lar Keyder, New Poverty and Changing Welfare Regime of Turkey (Ankara: UNDP, 2003); Bag˘ımsız Sosyal Bilimciler, IMF Go¨zetiminde On Uzun Yıl, 1998– 2008: Farklı Hu¨ku¨metler, Tek Siyaset (Istanbul: Yordam, 2007); Nes¸ecan Balkan and Sungur Savran (eds), Su¨rekli Kriz Politikaları: 2000’li Yıllarda Tu¨rkiye 1 (Istanbul: Metis, 2003). Melih Gu¨rsoy, Tarihi, Ekonomisi ve I˙nsanları ile Bizim I˙zmirimiz (Istanbul: Metis, 1993). Ibid. Mustafa Mutluer, Kentles¸me Su¨recinde I˙zmir’de Toplu Konut Uygulamaları (Izmir: Egean Universiy, 2000), p. 60. Hayat U¨nverdi, ‘Sosyo-ekonomik ilis¸kiler bag˘lamında I˙zmir gecekondularında kimlik yapılanmaları’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Izmir: Dokuz Eylu¨l University, 2002), pp. 182– 3. Faruk Ataay, ‘Tu¨rkiye kapitalizminin mekansal do¨nu¨s¸u¨mu¨’, Praksis 2 (2001), pp. 53 – 96; U¨nverdi, ‘I˙zmir gecekondularında kimlik yapılanmaları’; Gu¨rsoy, Bizim I˙zmirimiz. Savran, ‘20. Yu¨zyılın Politik Mirası’. I˙mset, I˙smet, ‘The PKK: Terrorists or freedom fighters?’, International Journal of Kurdish Studies 10/1 – 2 (1996), p. 74. Savran, ‘20. Yu¨zyılın Politik Mirası’. Apart from the institutionalized presence of the military in political life, there were also indirect interventions, where the military either threatened the government with a coup or forced governments into resignation. For instance, in 1997, a military-led campaign was orchestrated against the


21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.



NOTES TO PAGES 11 –13 Islamist government. The intervention was seen as a means of protecting secular ideals against the Islamists. However, Savran argues that the military was taking sides between the two competing segments of finance capital (secular-Western vs Islamist). See, Savran, ‘20. Yu¨zyılın Politik Mirası’. In 2007, the Turkish Armed Forces published a statement on its website threatening the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government with a coup. In the statement dated 27 April 2007 it declared: ‘Those who oppose the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatu¨rk’s understanding of “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk” are enemies of the Republic of Turkey and will remain so.’ Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 23. Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford, CA: Standord University Press, 1998), p. 64. It is also referred to as the ‘Gladio’ or ‘deep state’. Before the PKK, one can count five major Kurdish uprisings against the Turkish state. The Sheikh Said Rebellion of 1925 was the first major rebellion in the Turkish Republic, which had both religious and ethno-nationalist reverberations, and is considered more of a low intensity war than a minor uprising. The 1929– 30 Mount Ararat rebellion and the Dersim Seyyid Riza Rebellion (1937) were responded with massacres by the Turkish state. Also in 1920 and 1922, there were two major uprisings between the Iranian and Iraqi governments, which are called Simko and Sheikh Mahmud Barzinji respectively. At the very least, what these uprisings show us is that the Kurds have been politically active and conscious of their ethnic identity and of their problems in the Middle East since the 1800s. In 1880, there was a Kurdish rebellion at the border of the Ottoman and Persian empires, where the Kurdish people lived on the Ottoman Empire side, where Kurds lived, constituted a buffer zone between these empires. Being in the buffer zone between these two empires and enabled the Kurdish people to have some degree of autonomy and the power to negotiate their political and economic formation. Yet, Yeg˘en argues that from the 1920s to the 1980s, Turkish state discourses refused to accept the idea of Kurdishness of the Kurdish question. The political resistance of Kurdish populations was articulated as banditry, tribal resistance and reactionary politics or regional backwardness. See, Mesut Yeg˘en, ‘The Turkish state discourse and the exclusion of Kurdish identity’, Middle Eastern Studies 32/2 (1996), pp. 216– 30; Devlet So¨yleminde Ku¨rt Sorunu (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 1999). Welat Zeydanlıog˘lu, ‘Torture and Turkification in Diyarbakır prison’, in W. Zeydanlıog˘ lu and J. T. Parry (eds), Rights, Citizenship & Torture: Perspectives on Evil, Law and the State (Oxford: Interdisciplineary Press, 2009).



29. The PKK was formed in 1974, under the leadership of Abdullah O¨calan, as part of the Dev-Genc organization. Officials of the PKK described the Kurdish situation in the Middle East as a classical, colonial movement, and Kurdistan as a colony of the Turkish bourgeoisie and Kurdish landlords working in collaboration with them. In 1979, they made their first attack on another Kurdish tribe and in 1984 they started guerilla warfare, initially attacking military headquarters in Eruh and S¸emdinli. Starting in 1984, the Turkish army has pursued military operations in Turkey and approximately 30 kilometers beyond the Iraqi border. Between 1984 and 2000, roughly 35,000 people died due to this war. Hamit Bozarslan, Modern Tu¨rkiye Tarihi (Istanbul: Avesta, 2004), p. 111. 30. The exact number of extra-judicial killings is difficult to determine. IHD (Human Rights Foundation) claims that there are 5000 unresolved killings as of today, and 799 were killed between 1999 and 2009. According to a recent study by TIHV (Turkish Human Rights Foundation), The number of disappeared under detention by Turkish security forces between 1980 and 2000 is 757. Among these, 151 disappeared in Diyarbakir, the biggest Kurdish city within Turkey. See, Bianet, 17 April 2011. 31. The epitome of the violence against Kurds within the state institutions was Diyabakır prison. During the military rule of the 1980 coup, Diyarbakır prison hosted the most atrocious forms of torture against the Kurdish people. For an analysis of Diyarbakır prison see Zeydanlıog˘lu, ‘Torture and Turkification’. 32. Dilek Kurban, Coming to Terms with Forced Migration (Istanbul: TESEV, 2007); HU¨NEE, Turkey, Migration and Internally Displaced Population Survey (Ankara: I˙smat, 2006). 33. HU¨NEE, Internally Displaced Population Survey. 34. Deniz Yu¨kseker, ‘Yerinden edilme ve sosyal dıs¸lanma: I˙stanbul ve Diyarbakır’da zorunlu go¨c mag˘ durlarının yas¸ adıkları sorunlar’, in D. Demirler et al. (eds), ‘Zorunlu Go¨’ c ile Yu¨zles¸mek: Tu¨rkiye’de Yerinden Edilme Sonrası Vatandas¸lıg˘ın I˙ns¸ası (Istanbul: TESEV, 2006). 35. Tuzla Aras¸tırma Grubu, ‘Neoliberalism and Kurdish question in Turkey: The case of Tuzla dockyards’, Toplum ve Kuram 1 (2009), pp. 119–88. 36. Neslihan-Milz Demirtas¸, ‘Neoliberal zamanlarda I˙zmir ve I˙zmirlilik tahayu¨lleri’, in D. Yıldırım and E. Haspolat (eds), Deg˘is¸en I˙zmir’i Anlamak (Ankara: Phoenix, 2010). 37. Cenk Sarac og˘lu, ‘Exclusive recognition: the new dimensions of the questions of ethnicity and nationalism in Turkey’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 32/4 (2009), pp. 640– 58; Kurds of Modern Turkey (London: I.B.Tauris, 2011). 38. C¸apkın’s earlier experiments with the new urban policing model in Bursa involved only some parts of the restructuring. The Izmir model was implemented in Istanbul, with C¸apkın’s relocation to the city. See Chapter 5. 39. Wacquant, Urban Outcasts, pp. 9 – 10.



Chapter 1 Conceptual/Theoretical Framework and the Literature on the Neoliberal Penal State 1. Only a few criminologists have engaged with the question of the politics of crime. See for instance, Wesley Skogan, Disorder and Decline: Crime and the Spiral of Decay in American Neighbourhoods (New York: Free Press, 1990); Jerome Skolnick, Justice without Trial: Law Enforcement in Democratic Society (New York: Wiley, 1966); William K. Muir, Jr., Police: Streetcorner Politicians (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1977); James Q. Wilson, Thinking About Crime (New York: Vintage, 1985). Yet, most of these studies had quite conservative agendas that contributed to the law and order policies, and ‘administrative project of control’, in Garland’s words. David Garland, ‘The limits of the sovereign state: Strategies of crime control in contemporary society’, British Journal of Criminology 36/4 (1996), pp. 445– 71. 2. Here, it is necessary to distinguish ideology and politics. Eagleton posits that ‘politics refers to power processes by which social orders are sustained or challenged, whereas ideology denotes the ways in which these power processes get caught up in the realm of signification.’ Terry Eagleton, Ideology: A Short Introduction (New York: Verso, 1991), p. 11. For a discussion of ideology, see Chapter 2. 3. Philip John Stead, The Police of Britain (New York: Macmillan, 1985); Clive Emsley, Policing and Its Context, 1750– 1870 (New York: Schocken Books, 1984); Eric H. Monkkonen, Police in Urban America, 1860 –1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Sidneyl Harring, Policing a Class Society: The Experience of American Cities, 1865– 1915 (New Brunscwick, NJ: Rudgers University Press, 1983); William J. Chambliss, Power, Politics and Crime (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999); Robert Reiner, The Politics of the Police (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992); John D. Brewer et al., The Police, Public Order and the State (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996); Mark Neocleous, Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power (Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2000); Phillip Thurmond Smith, Policing Victorian London: Political Policing, Public Order and the London Metropolitan Police (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985). 4. Pasquale Pasquino, ‘Theatrum politicum: The genealogy of capital – police and the state of prosperity’, in G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P. Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect-Studies in Governmentality (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991). 5. Ibid., p. 114. 6. Ibid., p. 116. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid., p. 111. 9. Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Colle`ge de France, 1977– 1978 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2007), p. 323.

NOTES TO PAGES 25 –28 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

17. 18.

19. 20. 21. 22. 23.



Ibid., p. 327. Ibid. Ibid., p. 354. Eric H. Monkkonen, Police in Urban America, 1860– 1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981). Neocleous, Fabrication of Social Order. Nicholas Poulantsaz, State, Power, Socialism (London: NLB, 1978). Following the regulation school, the mode of regulation is composed of ‘historically contingent ensembles of complementary economic and extraeconomic mechanisms and practices which enable relatively stable accumulation to occur over relatively long periods.’ Bob Jessop, ‘Twenty years of the (Parisian) regulation approach: The paradox of success and failure at home and abroad’, New Political Economy 2/3 (1997), p. 503. Thus, the framework of the French Regulation School integrates ‘the role of political and social relations (state action and legislature, social institutions, behavioral norms and habits, political practices) – the so-called ‘mode of regulation’ – into the conception of capitalist reproduction and crisis.’ Adam Tickell and Jamie A. Peck, ‘Accumulation, regulation and the geographies of post-fordism: Missing links in Regulationist Research’, Progress in Human Geography 16/2 (1992), p. 192. In turn, social regulation is a hierarchically and asymmetrically organized set of institutions, practices and techniques that are utilized for the control of populations. It is not only the state, but also all other state-embedded nonstate institutions, practices and formations together that constitute the social regulatory forms. Police constitute a part of the mode of regulation, and it is historically contingent on the state-society relations and relations of power. See Neocleous, Fabrication of Social Order. Hall et al., Policing the Crisis, p. 154. The writers insist that the social control theories that tried to bring theory of control for understanding crime did not differentiate between different states or historical social contexts. Moreover this perspective ‘does not examine the repressive function of the state apparatuses in relation to their consensual functions.’ Ibid., p. 195. Neocleous, Fabrication of Social Order. Hall et al., Policing the Crisis. Ibid., p. viii. Steven Spitzer, ‘Toward a Marxian theory of deviance’, Social Problems 22/5 (1975), p. 639. Ibid. Also, Ian Taylor, Paul Walton and Jack Young (eds), The New Criminology (London: Routledge, 1973); Stanley Cohen and Andrew Scull (eds), Social Control and the State (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1983). Spitzer, ‘Toward a Marxian theory of deviance’; Tony Bunyan, ‘The Police against the people’, Race and Class XXIII/2 – 3 (1981), pp. 153– 70; Christopher R. Adamson, ‘Toward a Marxian penology: Captive criminal populations as economic threat and resources’, Social Problems 31 (1984), pp. 435– 58; Harring, Policing a Class Society; Sidneyl Harring, ‘Policing a


25. 26.



29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34.

NOTES TO PAGES 28 –30 class society: The expansion of the urban police in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries’, in D. Greenberg (ed.), Crime and Capitalism (Philedelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1993). Neocleous, Fabrication of Social Order. For historical accounts on criminality in the nineteenth century as a spatially imagined category, see: David Foster, ‘Some Victorian concepts of crime’, in E. M. Sigsworth (ed.), In Search of Victorian Values: Aspects of Nineteenth Century Thought of Society (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988); David Jones, Crime and Protest: Community and Police in Nineteenth Century Britain (London: Routledge, 1988); Goerge Rude, Criminal and Victim: Crime and Society in Early Eighteenth Century Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985). Michael Brodgen, Tony Jefferson and Sandra Walklate, Introducing Policework (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988); Stanley Cohen, ‘The punitive city: Notes on the dispersal of social control’, Contemporary Crisis 3/4 (1979), pp. 339– 63; Jennifer Davis, ‘From “rookeries” to “communities”: Race, poverty and policing in London, 1850– 1895’, History Workshop 27/1 (1989), pp. 66 – 85; John Stevenson, ‘Social control and the prevention of riots in England, 1889– 1829’, in A. Donajgrodski (ed.), Social Control in Nineteenth Century Britain (London, 1977); Phil Scraton (ed.), Law, Order and the Authoritarian State (Philedelphia, PA: Open University Press, 1987). Chris Crowther, ‘Policing the excluded society’, in R. Hopkins-Burke (ed.), Zero Tolerance Policing (Leicester: Perpetuity Press, 1998); John Irwin, Jails: Managing the Underclass in American Society (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984). Monkkonen, Police in Urban America, p. 23. Harring, Policing a Class Society. Cited in Crowther, ‘Policing the excluded society’, p. 22. However, such a reading has been criticized by its reductionism. E.P. Thompson argues that, in the case of Black Acts of the 1732 English countryside that criminalized the survival activities of the commoners, the law was not simply an instrument of oppression against the labouring classes. The commoners, he explains, also resorted to the same laws for their own interest even though this entailed very little success compared to the Whigs. But what this suggests is that the law is constituted through a vehement class struggle. As Thompson argues, law is not simply a code that accommodates the needs of the dominant classes, written and applied, but a site in which social relations are unfold. Through the definitions of crime and criminality, the operations of control systems, of which police is a part of, are legitimated. Edward P. Thompson, Whigs and Hunters: The Origins of Black Act (New York: Pantheon Books, 1975). Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (New York: International Publications, 1990), p. 75. Peter Linebaugh, ‘Karl Marx, the theft of wood, and working-class composition’, in D. Greenberg (ed.), Crime and Capitalism.



35. Robert M. Buffington, Criminal and Citizen in Modern Mexico (London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000). 36. Ibid., p. 168. 37. Ibid., p. 23. 38. Ibid., p. 24. 39. Mark Brown, ‘Race, Science and the Construction of Native Criminality in Colonial India’, Theoretical Criminology 5/3 (2001), p. 345. 40. Ibid., p. 361. For studies that analyses the relation between racialization, criminalization, and constitution of a racial/colonial order see, Kelvin Santiago-Valles, “Subject People” and Colonial Discourses: Economic Transformation and Social Disorder in Puerto-Rico, 1898– 1947 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994); Satadru Sen, Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convicts Society in the Anadaman Islands (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Diana Paton, No Bond but the Law: Punishment, Race and Gender in Jamaican State Formation, 1780– 1870 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004); Brodgen, Jefferson and Walklate, Introducing Policework; David Arnold, ‘Colonial prison: Power, knowledge and penology in nineteenth century India’, in D. Arnold and D. Hardiman (eds), Subaltern Studies 8 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994). 41. Eric Hobsbawn, Primitive Rebels (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1965); Bandits (New York: New Press, 2000). 42. Peter Linebaugh, The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in Eighteenth Century London (London: Verso, 2003). 43. Ibid. 44. Friedric Engels, The Condition of the Working-Class in Enland in 1844 (Gloucester, 2007), p. 240. 45. Geoffrey Pearson, ‘Goths and vandals: Crime in history’, in Greenberg (ed.), Crime and Capitalism. 46. Quoted in Ibid., pp. 125– 6. 47. Donald Crummey (ed.), Banditry, Rebellion, and Social Protest in Africa (London: J. Currey, 1986). 48. William Freund, ‘Theft and social protest among the tin miners in Northern Nigeria’, in Crummey (ed.), Banditry, p. 49. 49. Ibid., p. 60. 50. James Scott, ‘The infrapolitics of subordinate groups’, in L. Amoore (ed.), The Global Resistence Reader (New York: Routledge, 2005). 51. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1968), p. 130. 52. It is important to see coups and authoritarianism as a mechanism of capitalist reproduction. Lipietz suggests: ‘There have been, there are, there will be wars and coup d’e´tat formented to keep markets open, to get raw materials, to keep control of cheap labor sources . . . these interventions were actions whose aim was often extra-economic and often contradictory. They resulted in more or less coerced consensus in favor of a given regime of accumulation’. Alain Lipietz, Mirages and Miracles: the Crisis in Global Fordism (London: Verso, 1987), p. 22.



53. Patricia Martin, ‘Mexico’s neoliberal transition: Authoritarian shadows in an era of neoliberalism’, in H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. S. Sheppard (eds), Contesting Neoliberalism (New York: Gulford Press, 2007). 54. Ibid., p. 56 [emphasis added]. 55. Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell, ‘Conceptualizing neoliberalism, thinking Thatcherism’, in Leitner, Peck, Sheppard (eds), Contesting Neoliberalism, p. 33. 56. Andrew Gamble, ‘A new model economy’, The Institute for Public Policy Research (22 July 2014). Available at 57. Ibid., pp. 28 – 9 [emphasis in the original]. 58. William J. Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); Enzo Mingione (ed.), Urban Poverty and the Underclass (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996); Crowther, ‘Policing the excluded society’; Didier Fassin, ‘Exclusion, underclass, marginalization: Contemporary figures of urban poverty in France, the United States and Latin America’, Revue Francaise de Sosiologie 37/1 (1996), pp. 37– 75; Zygmunt Bauman, Wasted Lives: Modernity and its Outcasts (Oxford: Polity Press, 2004). 59. Jonathan Simon, ‘“Entitlement to cruelty”: The end of welfare and the punitive mentality in the United States’, in K. Stenson and R. K. Sullivan (eds), Crime, Risk and Justice: The Politics of Crime Control in Liberal Democracies (Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing, 2001). 60. John Braithwaite, ‘The new regulatory state and transformation of criminology’, British Journal of Criminology 40/2 (2000), p. 222. 61. Source: International Center for Prison Studies. 62. Loı¨c Wacquant, ‘How penal common sense comes to Europeans: Notes on the transatlantic diffusion of neoliberal doxa’, European Societies 1/3 (1999), pp. 319 –52; ‘Suitable enemies: Foreigners and immigrants in the prisons of Europe’, Punishment and Society 1/2 (1999), pp. 215 – 22; Prisons of Poverty, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009); Michael H. Tonry, Malign Neglect: Race, Class, Punishment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Antonio Cassesse, Inhuman States: Imprisonment, Detention, and Torture in Europe Today (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996); Rene´ Van Swaanigen, ‘The Dutch prison system and penal policy in the 1990s: From humanitarian paternalism to penal business management’, in V. Ruggiero et al. (eds), Western European Penal Systems: An Anatomy (London: Sage, 1995); Alessandro De Giorgi, ‘Immigration control, post-Fordism, and less eligibility’, Punishment & Society 12/2 (2010), pp. 147 – 67; Didier Fassin, Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing (London: Polity, 2013). 63. Wacquant, ‘Suitable enemies’; Susan Terrio, ‘You’ll get your day in court: Judging delinquents at the Paris Palace of Justice’, Political and Legal Anthropology Review 26/2 (2003), pp. 136– 64. 64. Teresa P. R. Caldeira, City of Walls: Crime, Segregation, and Citizenship in Sao Paulo (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000); Loı¨c Wacquant, ‘Toward a dictatorship over the poor? Notes on the penalization of poverty in Brazil’, Punishment and Society 5/2 (2003), pp. 197 – 205; Alba Zaluar and





68. 69.

70. 71.

72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78.


Alexandre Isodoro Ribeiro, ‘The drug trade, crime and policies of repression in Brazil’, Dialectical Anthropology 20/1 (1995), pp. 95 – 108. Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, ‘Criminal obsessions, after Foucault: Postcoloniality, policing, and the metaphysics of disorder’, Critical Inquiry 30/4 (2004), pp. 800– 24; ‘Criminal justice, cultural justice: The limits of liberalism and the pragmatics of difference in the new South Africa’, American Ethnologist 31/2 (2004b), pp. 188– 204; Mark Shaw, Crime and Policing in PostApartheid South Africa (Bloominghton, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002); Leola Johnson, ‘The social bandit after Apartheid’, Macalester International 9/1 (2000), Article 19. Mechthild Nagel and Seth Nii Asumah (eds), Prisons and Punishment: Reconsidering Global Penality (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007); Julia Sudbury, ‘Resisting the globalization of mass incarceration’, Social Justice 27/3 (2000), pp. 133– 49; Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex (New York: Routledge, 2004); William G. Martin, ‘The prison industrial complex goes to Africa and beyond: Branch plant or Apartheid plant?’, in Nagel and Asumah (eds), Prisons and Punishment. Dario Melossi, ‘Gazette of morality and social whip: Punishment, hegemony and the case of the USA, 1970– 92’, Social and Legal Studies 2/3 (1993), pp. 259– 79. Ibid., p. 263. Marc Mauer, Race to Incarcerate (New York: New Press, 1999); Marc Mauer and Medea Chesney-Lind (eds), Invisible Punishment: The Politics of Mass Imprisonment (New York: New Press 2002). Charles Murray, The Underclass: the Crisis Deepens (London, 1984). Oscar Lewis, Children of Sanchez (New York: Random House, 1961); La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty, San Juan and New York (New York: Random House, 1966); John Hagan and Alberto Palloni, ‘The social reproduction of a criminal class in working class, circa 1950– 1980’, American Journal of Sociology 96/2 (1990), pp. 265– 99. Ken Auletta, The Underclass (New York: Random House, 1982); Frank Richards, ‘The underclass: A race apart’, Living Marxism 37 (1991), pp. 30 – 4. Marshall Clinnard, ‘The nature of the slum’, in D. Glaser (ed.), Crime in the City (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), p. 14. Ibid., pp. 23 – 4. Michael B. Katz, The “Underclass” Debate: Views from History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 4. Ibid.; Crowther, ‘Policing the excluded society’. Mauer, Race to Incarcerate; Parenti, Lockdown America. Coletta Youngers, and Eileen Rosin, Drugs and Democracy in Latin America: the Impact of U.S. Policy (Boulder, 2005); Anthony D. Lott, Creating Insecurity: Realism, Constructivism, and US Security Policy (Vermont, 2004); Fernando Romero, Hyperborder: The Contemporary U.S.-Mexico Border and Its Future (New York, 2008); Timothy J. Dunn, The Militarization of the U.S-Mexico


79. 80.




84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89.

NOTES TO PAGES 42 –45 Border, 1978 –1992: Low Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home (Texas, 1996); Veronica Leyva, ‘Definitive neoliberal city: Militarization of everyday life in Ciudad Juarez’, Public lecture, Binghamton University, 4 March 2010. Hall et al., Policing the Crisis. David C. Anderson, Crime and the Politics of Hysteria: How the Willie Horton Story Changed American Justice (New York: Times Books, 1995); Mauer, Race to Incarcerate; Bruce Western, Punishment and Inquality in America (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006); Loı¨c Wacquant, ‘Deadly symbiosis: When ghetto and prison meet and mesh’, Punishment and Society 3/1 (2000), pp. 95 – 134. With more that 2 million inmates and another 4 million under some form of correctional supervision, the US criminal justice system has became the most punitive system, with an archipelago of penal institutions and a multitude of new security and penal techniques. The use of three strikes laws, mandatory minimum sentencing, aggressive policing and racial profiling all played a role in this large-scale penalization. For an account of the militarization of the police in the US, see, Peter B. Kraska and Victor E. Kappeler, ‘Militarizing American Police: The rise and normalization of paramilitary units’, Social Problems 44/1 (1997), pp. 1 – 18. John D. Brewer, Adrian Guelke, Ian Hume, Edward Moxon-Browne and Rick Wilford, The Police, Public Order and the State (New York: St. Martin’s Press Inc., 1996); Parenti, Lockdown America; Michael Keith, Race, Riots and Policing (London: UCL Press, 1993). Also see Mukhopadhyay, Surajit, ‘Importing back colonial policing systems? The relation between the Royal Irish Constabulary, Indian policing and militarization of policing in England and Wales’, Innovation 11/3 (1998), pp. 253– 65. Parenti, Lockdown America, ch. 1. Ibid., p. 21. For an analysis of the latest riots in Paris, see Cathy Schneider, ‘Police power and race riots in Paris’, Politics & Society 35/4 (2007), pp. 523– 49. Tony Bunyan, ‘The Police against the People’, Race and Class XXIII/2 –3 (1981), pp. 153– 70. Sophie-Gendrot Body, The Social Control of Cities? A Comparative Perspective (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000), p. xxvi. For the policing of these riots see, David Cowell, Trevor Jones, and Jock Young (eds), Policing the Riots (London: Junction Books, 1982). Young and Lea suggest that there is a relationship between the Bristol riots and exhaustion of legitimate channels for depoliticized communities. They argue that the riots were not simply a consequence of poverty. Many analyses, as they suggested, had made it the sole reason, which either explained it through lack of cultural adaptation of migrant communities, or alienated cultures rooted in poverty. However, the political marginalization of the inner city communities, their political disenfranchisement both as a part of the labour force and as citizens were important factors in preventing any institutionalized forms of political


90. 91.

92. 93.

94. 95. 96.

97. 98.


100. 101.


103. 104. 105.


dissidence. Jock Young, and John Lea, ‘The riots in Britain 1981’, in D. Cowell, T. Jones, and J. Young (eds), Policing the Riots (London: Junction Books, 1982). See Martha K. Huggins, Political Policing: The United States and Latin America (Durham, NJ: Duke University Press, 1998). Michael W. Flamm, ‘New York’s night of Birmingham horror: The NYPD, the Harlem Riot of 1964, and the politics of “law and order”’, in R. Bessel and C. Emsley (eds), Patterns of Provocation (New York: Berghahn Books, 2000). Parenti, Lockdown America, p. 135. See Andrea McArdle and Tanya Erzen (eds), Zero Tolerance: Quality of Life and the New Police Brutality in New York City (New York: New York University Press, 2001). Parenti, Lockdown America. Steve Herbert and Elizabeth Brown, ‘Conceptions of space and crime in the punitive neoliberal city’, Antipode 38/4 (2006), p. 757. Steve Herbert, Policing Space: Territoriality and Los Angelas Police Department (Minessota, 1996); ‘Policing the contemporary city: Fixing broken windows or shoring up neo-liberalism’, Theoretical Criminology 5/4 (2001), pp. 445– 66; Volker Eick, ‘New strategies of policing the poor: Berlin’s neo-liberal security system’, Policing and Society 13/4 (2003), pp. 365– 79; Nicholas Fyfe, ‘The police, space and society: The geography of policing’, Progress in Human Geography 15/3 (1991), pp. 249– 67; ‘Policing the city’, Urban Studies 32 (1995), pp. 759– 78. Garland, ‘The limits of the sovereign state’. Jessica Cattelino, ‘The difference the citizenship makes: Civilian crime prevention on the Lower East Side’, Polar 27/1 (2004), pp. 114– 37; John C. Alderson, Communal Policing (Exeter: The Devon and Cornwall Police Headquarters, 1980); Martin, ‘The prison industrial complex goes to Africa and beyond’. Bruce Western, Punishment and Inquality in America (New York: Russel Sage Poundation, 2006); Mauer, Race to Incarcerate; Christian Parenti, Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (New York: Verso, 2000). Western, Punishment and Inequality in America. Diana R. Gordon, The Justice Juggernaut: Fighting Street Crime, Controlling Citizens (New Brunswick, NJ: Rudgers University Press, 1990); Mauer, Race to Incarcerate. Wacquant, ‘Deadly symbiosis’, p. 95. Also see Wacquant, ‘The penalisation of poverty and the rise of neo-liberalism’, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 9 (2001), pp. 401– 12. Ibid., p. 99. Ibid., p. 97. Mauer and Chesney-Lind (eds), Invisible Punishment; Mauer, Race to Incarcerate; Becky Pettit and Bruce Western, ‘Mass imprisonment and the


106. 107.

108. 109. 110. 111. 112.

113. 114.

NOTES TO PAGES 47 –52 life course: Race and class inequality in U.S. incarceration’, American Sociological Review 69/2 (2004), pp. 151 – 9; Parenti, Lockdown America; John Irwin, Jails: Managing the Underclass in American Society (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984); Western, Punishment and Inquality in America. Stephen Castells and Godula Kosack, ‘The function of labour immigration in Western European capitalism’, New Left Review 73 (1972), p. 10. Terrio, ‘Judging delinquents’; Wacquant, ‘How penal common sense comes to Europeans’; ‘Suitable enemies’; Eick, ‘Berlin’s neo-liberal security system’; Didier Bigo and Elspeth Guild, ‘Policing at a distance: Schengen Visa policies’, in D. Bigo and E. Guild (eds), Controlling Frontiers – Free Movement into and within Europe (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005). Wacquant, ‘Toward a dictatorship over the poor’, p. 200. Caldeira, City of Walls. The Carandiru prison riot in 1992 was met with an attack from military police, which resulteed in the death of 111 prisoners. Martin, ‘The prison industrial complex goes to Africa and beyond’. For the US, see Angela Davis and Cassandra Shaylor, ‘Race, gender, and the prison industrial complex: California and beyond’, Meridians 2/1 (2001), pp. 1 – 25; Christie Nils, Crime Control as Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style (London: Routledge, 1994). Wacquant, ‘Toward a dictatorship over the poor?’, p. 6. Roy Coleman, ‘Images from a neoliberal city: The state, surveillance and social control’, Critical Criminology 12/1 (2003), p. 22.

Chapter 2 Neoliberal Ideologies of Crime in Urban Turkey 1. Alan Hunt and Trevor Pervis, ‘Discourse, ideology, discourse, ideology, discourse, ideology . . . ’, The British Journal of Sociology 44/3 (1993), p. 476. 2. Ibid., p. 496. 3. Richard Victor Ericson, Patricia M. Baranek and Janet B. L. Chan, Representing Order: Crime, Law, and Justice in the News Media (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991); Richard Victor Ericson, Crime and the Media (Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth, 1995); Stanley Hall, ‘Deviance, Politics and the Media’, in P. Rock and M. McIntosh (eds), Deviance and Social Control (London: Tavistock, 1974). 4. Hall et al., Policing the Crisis, p. 53. 5. David Garland, ‘Of crimes and criminals: The development of criminology in Britain’, in M. Maguire, R. Morgan and R. Reiner (eds), Oxford Handbook of Criminology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 12, 20. 6. Ricardo D. Salvatore, ‘Positivist criminology and state formation in modern Argentina, 1890 – 1940’, in P. Becker and R. F. Wetzell (eds),



8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

19. 20.


Criminals and Their Scientists (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 254. During the 1960s and 1970s the Marxian and Radical Criminology as well as the feminists have produced a strong critique of criminology and sought to reframe its assumptions and questions. Stanley Cohen, an important figure within the tradition of radical criminology, documents these attempts in a self– reflective manner in his book, Against Criminology (Oxford: Transaction Books, 1988). Hu¨rriyet, 14 December 1998. Sabah, 25 September 2003. Ibid.; Emniyet Genel Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, Kapkac Olaylarına Analitik Bakıs¸ (Ankara: APK Bas¸kanlıg˘ı, 2004). Ag˘a means feudal chief. Sabah, 26 September 2003; Sabah, 23 September 2003; Yeni Asır, 6 June 2006; Yeni Asır, 23 June 2006. Hu¨rriyet, 14 December 1998. Sabah, 24 September 2003. Hu¨rriyet, 6 June 2007; Hu¨rriyet, 16 November 2004; Sabah, 8 November 2004; Yeni Asır, 24 February 2006. Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics: the Creation of the Mods and Rockers (London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1972). Quoted in Hall et al., Policing the Crisis, pp. 16 –17. Various MA theses and books were written exclusively on different aspects of the subject of kapkac. See for instance, O¨nder on kapkac and pick pocketing crimes in Diyarbakir, Gu¨l on kapkac in Islamic jurisprudence, and Tekkılıc on the behavioral aspects of kapkac perpetrators and victims. O¨nder, Mehmet Seyman, ‘Diyarbakır’da Kapkac ve Yankesicilik Olaylarına Karıs¸an 18 Yas¸ Altı Kis¸ilerin Sosyolojik Analizi’, unpublished MA Thesis (Diyarbakir: Dicle University, 2007); Gu¨l, Mutlu, ‘I˙slam hukukunda kapkac ’, unpublished MA thesis (Bursa: Uludag˘ University, 2006); Tekkılıc , Abdurrahim, ‘Faail ve mag˘dur go¨zu¨yle kapkac davranıs¸ı’, unpublished MA Thesis (Nig˘de: Nig˘de ¨ niveristesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitu¨su¨, 2007). U Hu¨rriyet, 5 January 2006. Emniyet Genel Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, Kapkac. The book was hardly designed for common consumption, but was indicative of the police’s interest in this ‘new’ form of crime. The book is largely a statistical intervention towards the debate over this new crime through an analysis of the information of 1026 cases collected officially by the police. The profile of those detained, of the victims of kapkac, and the particularities of this crime are examined. Information such as the age, gender, employment, prior convictions, place of birth, and education level are investigated for the profiling of kapkac offenders. However, not many distinguishing features could be detected for an exact profile, except for the prevalence of under-aged suspects (even though those under the age 18 constitute approximately 20 per cent of the total kapkac suspects.)


21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33.




NOTES TO PAGES 56 –59 According to the data the level of education is very low and most offenders were unemployed and had prior criminal records. In the study, the line between kapkac and other mugging activities is blurred except for the use of vehicles. Cars and motorcycles were used in 40 per cent of the cases, even though kapkac was mostly a pedestrian activity along with other street crimes. It barely involved any weapons, and mostly inflicted only minor psychological damage on its victims, contrary to the media depictions of violent kapkac stories. Emniyet Genel Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, Kapkac, pp. 4 – 12. Sabah, 14 November 2006. Hu¨rriyet, 6 February 2005. Sabah, 8 December 2004. Interview, Konak Public Order Headquarter, Captain, no. 1, April 2008; Interview, Balc ova Public Order Headquarter, Captain, no. 1, May 2008. Halil I˙. Bahar and I˙smail Fert, ‘The debate over recent recorded crime in Turkey’, International Journal of Social Inquiry 1/1 (2008), pp. 89 – 104. Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, May 2008. Sabah, 23 January 2005. Kapkac figures had been circulating separately. For instance, according to a news story, kapkac incidences rose 60 per cent in the first nine months of 2003. Sabah, 11 April 2004. Sabah, 23 January 2005; Sabah, 27 January 2006. Sabah, 14 November 2006. Bahar and Fert, ‘The debate’. Ibid. The statistical categories were also changed in 2000. Before the changes, public order crimes were divided into two: asayis¸e mu¨essir (relating to public order) and polisin takibini gerektiren (necessitating police follow-up). Only after 2000, the public order crimes were categorized as crimes against property and crimes against persons. Taner Arda, Asayis¸ Olayları Deg˘erlerndirmesi 1997– 1998 (Ankara: Asayis¸ S¸ube Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, 1999), p. 8. This also makes it hard to make a comparative analysis. Clive Emsley, ‘Measuring a problem’, in C. Emsley (ed.), Crime, Police and Penal Policy: European Experiences, 1750– 1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 117. Ibid., p. 131. This statistical measuring and categorization helped to establish a foundation for the science of crime later on. Lombrosian positivist criminology constructed statistical measuring of the criminals’ various features (skull size, shape of the face . . .) to establish a link between physical characters and criminality. Despite its scientific invalidity, the obsession with numbers in Lombroso’s integration of numbers was well received, particularly by the US police at the time. Its use was thus developed into a very effective strategy of profiling of the criminals, a technique that is still important in policing today. Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, ‘Figuring crime: Quantifacts and the production of the un/real’, Public Culture 18/1 (2006), p. 211.



37. More importantly, the statistics and the crime discourses were quite effective in orchestrating public support to increase police powers that had been undermined by the legal limitations and regulations imposed through the new versions of CMUK (Turkish Criminal Procedure). These limitations will be more extensively discussed in the next chapter. 38. In his opening speech, the institute director, Sulhi Do¨nmezer, mentions how pressing the issue of urbanization has become in understanding the problems of crime. According to Do¨nmezer, ‘the importance of urbanization in terms of criminology arises from the need for protection and security of the individual in a growing and metropolizing city.’ I˙U¨CHKE (I˙stanbul U¨niversitesi Ceza Hukuku ve Kriminoloji Enstitu¨su¨), Sehirles¸menin Dog˘urdug˘u Ceza Adaleti Sorunları Sempozyumu (Istanbul: I˙stanbul U¨niversitesi Hukuk Faku¨ltesi Yayınları, 1974), p. 10. 39. Sulhi Do¨nmezer, ‘Hızla s¸ehirles¸en ve sanayiles¸en bir ku¨cu¨k s¸ehir toplumunda suc luluk: “Ereg˘li projesi”’, Annales de la Faculte de Droit d’Istanbul 22/38 (1972), pp. 55 – 71. 40. Nevzat Gu¨relli, ‘S¸ehirles¸me ve suc ’, in Ceza Adaleti Sorunları, p. 123. 41. I˙U¨CHKE, Ceza Adaleti Sorunları, p. 112. 42. According to the ‘foreman syndrome’, workers, who became successful and moved in the class hierarchy by moving to a better neighborhood and income level in a relatively short time cannot adapt, making them prone to crimes. These crimes stem from the ‘feeling of inferiority and feeling of disharmony’, according to Prof. Sabahattin Payzin, a participant at the conference. I˙U¨CHKE, Ceza Adaleti Sorunları, p. 103. 43. Polis 1980 [337], 13 – 14. Cited in Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’, 111n51. 44. In Turkey, the security in the rural areas is the responsibility of gendarme, while the urban areas are under the police. 45. S¸u¨kru¨ Aslan, 1 Mayıs Mahallesi: 1980 O¨ncesi Toplumsal Mu¨cadeleler ve Kent (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 2004). 46. I˙U¨CHKE, Ceza Adaleti Sorunları, p. 92. 47. Ibid., pp. 79 – 80. 48. Ibid., p. 72. 49. Ibid., p. 68. 50. Ibid., p. 60. 51. Ibid., p. 66. 52. Evren Tok, A la Turka Neoliberalism: Gecekondus as Turkey’s New State Spaces (Saarbru¨cken: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010). 53. Turkey’s urbanization process has usually been depicted as ‘crooked urbanization’ due to the overwhelming number of shantytowns, lack of urban planning and clientalist urban policies. 54. Neslihan Demirtas¸ and Seher S¸en, ‘Varos¸ identity: The redefinition of low-income settlements in Turkey’, Middle Eastern Studies 43/1 (2007), pp. 87 –106; H. Aksoy, ‘Cog˘rafi Bilgi Sistemi Uygulamaları: Bursa Modeli’,





58. 59. 60. 61. 62.

63. 64.

65. 66.

NOTES TO PAGES 64 –67 Birinci Polis Bilis¸im Sempozyumu (Ankara: I˙cis¸leri Bakanlıg˘ı, Emniyet Genel Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, 2001). Gazi district is also popularly referred to as ‘the Gaza Strip’ among its residents, for the extraordinary control and repression this neighborhood has been subjected to due to its political dissidence. The massacre and subsequent riots in Gazi and other Alevi neighborhoods are now known as Gazi Events. During the court process, the events (including the initial shootings) were connected to upper level police officials, who were also known to be involved with the Gladio. Yeni Yu¨zyıl, 2 May 1996. Also see the issue 85 of Birikim for the critical commentaries on this issue: O¨mer Lac iner ‘1 Mayıs 1996: Yol ayrımı’, Birikim 85 (1996), pp. 3–9; Tanıl Bora, ‘1 Mayıs – Bir polisiye klasig˘i’, Birikim 85 (1996), pp. 10–11; U¨mit Kıvanc , ‘Oldu en sonunda oldu’, Birikim 85 (1996), pp. 12–14. Wacquant, Urban Outcasts, p. 1. Yalc ın Dog˘an, ‘Farklı kimlig˘in farklı ku¨ltu¨ru¨n sonuc ları’, Milliyet, 15 March 1995. Oya Baydar, ‘O¨teki’ne yenik du¨s¸en I˙stanbul’, I˙stanbul Dergisi 23 (1997). Demirtas¸ and S¸en, ‘Varos¸ identity’. Sabah, 25 July 2003; Sabah, 25 March 2001; Ertug˘rul O¨zko¨k, ‘Harlems in the midst of the city’, Hu¨rriyet, 6 February 2005; Nes¸e Du¨zel, ‘Polisin giremeyeceg˘i Harlemler yaratılıyor’, Radikal, 19 March 2007. The titles read: ‘Is Istanbul becoming the Harlem of Turkey?’ ‘Harlems are in the making, where police can’t enter’, ‘Istanbul’s Harlem’, ‘Edirne’s Harlem’, ‘Harlems in the midst of the city’. The immigration of Africans to Istanbul, who started to populate inner city neighborhoods such as Tarlabas¸ı, also constituted the basis for news about the neighborhoods being ‘turned into Harlem of New York.’ Sabah, 25 March 2001. Also see Sabah, 13 February 2006 and 17 February 2007. The piece on ‘Edirne’s Harlem’ is about a Roma neighborhood, which was famous for its criminality and had become the object of preventive policing by the new police chief of Edirne at the time. An article series on Kasımpas¸a neighborhood mentions that 70 per cent of child criminals in Istanbul Juvenile Court live in Kasımpas¸a and Hacıhu¨srev, and adds that the neighborhoods compare with Harlem in terms of crime rates. According to a psychologist, what needs to be done is to rehabilitate the whole neighborhood, explaining that since culturally the families do not see anything wrong with crime, ‘families choose theft as their job. They make babies to turn into thieves.’ Sabah, 19 January 2003. Sabah, 9 November 2005. Especially for politicized neighborhoods, where radical left-wing organizations are active, the depictions of ‘places even police can’t enter,’ ‘saved area’ or ‘no-go areas’ are frequently used. Sabah, 23 January 2005. Sabah, 7 December 2005; Yeni Asir, 9 November 2005.



67. Demirtas¸ and S¸en, ‘Varos¸ identity’. 68. Deniz Yonucu, ‘A story of a squatter neighborhood: From the place of the “dangerous classes” the “place of danger”’, The Berkley Journal of Sociology 52 (2009), pp. 50 –72. 69. Nazan U¨stu¨ndag˘, ‘Belonging to the Modern: Women’s Suffering and Subjectivities in Urban Turkey’, unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 2005); Yu¨kseker, ‘Yerinden edilme ve sosyal dıs¸lanma’. 70. Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, ‘Criminal obsessions, after Foucault: Postcoloniality, policing, and the metaphysics of disorder’, Critical Inquiry 30/4 (2004), p. 801. 71. Arda, Asayis¸ Olayları Deg˘erlerndirmesi, p. 16. 72. Sabah, 8 – 9 December 2004; Sabah, 4 September 2005. Certain neighborhoods of Diyarbakır were also singled out as producing muggers to be transported to the big cities. According to the news, the children, who were brought to Istanbul, came from extremely poor neighborhoods of Diyarbakir, such as Horhor, Nis¸anca, Katip, Kumpkapı, etc. Sabah, 12 September 2004. 73. According to a newspaper report, the number of juveniles who were detained rose up to 48,375 in 2003. Sabah, 24 April 2004. The Kurdish children have been actively participating in the demonstrations especially in the Kurdish region, and many of them were incarcerated under the Anti-Terror Law. Even though they are children, they have been tried as adults. They have come to be known as ‘children who throw rocks’ (tas¸ atan ocuklar). c For a meaningful analysis of these children as political actors see Haydar Darıcı, ‘Violence and freedom: Politics of Kurdish children’, Toplum ve Kuram 2 (2009), pp. 17 – 42. 74. Sabah, 13 November 2004. 75. Sabah, 28 March 2005. 76. Former Kurdish party. 77. Sabah, 9 April 2005. 78. Ege-Koop, Yeni TCK ve CMUK Is¸ıg˘ında Kapkac Kabusu ve Gu¨venlik. Adi Suclar, Siyasi Suclar, C¸ıkar Amaclı Suclar Sempozyumu (Izmir: Titizler, 2005), p. 18. 79. Hakkı Devrim, ‘Kapkac ve sokaktaki cocuklar’, Radikal, 9 November 2004; Sabah, 25 September 2003; Sabah, 9 April 2005. 80. Cumhuriyet, 15 April 2006; Radikal, 1 March 2009. 81. Juvenile delinquency has been one of the most investigated topics in Turkish criminology. 82. Sabah, 18 December 2004; Sabah, 9 December 2004. 83. Dolunay S¸enol C¸evik, ‘Tu¨rkiye’de cocuk suc lulug˘u’, Polis Dergisi 31 (2002), pp. 17 – 22. 84. Hu¨rriyet, 20 February 2008. The article is titled “Causes of Child Criminality.” It reports about a research project on street kids by criminologist Tu¨lin I˙cli. 85. Sabah, 29 October 2006. 86. Ege-Koop, Kapkac Kabusu ve Gu¨venlik, pp. 57 – 8. The issue of high birth rates among Kurdish families was subjected to many racist comments including the


87. 88. 89.

90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96.

97. 98.




NOTES TO PAGES 71 –73 effect of it in increasing crime in the cities. Celalettin Cerrah also saw high birth rates as an important problem in Istanbul’s security: ‘you encounter unpleasant views, those who sell flowers on the highway . . . every family has 7 – 8 kids. Since there is not enough money, they can’t control them.’ Sabah, 28 March 2005. Ege-Koop, Kapkac Kabusu ve Gu¨venlik. I˙. Hamit Hancı, ‘Gecekondulas¸ma ve cocuk suc lulug˘u’, Adli Tıp Dergisi 11 (1995), pp. 55 –62. On the ecological school, see Clifford Shaw et al., Delinquency Areas: A Study of Geographical Distribution of Schools Truants, Juvenile Delinquents and Adult Offenders in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1929); Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay, Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942); Rodney Stark, ‘Deviant places: A theory of the ecology of crime’, Criminology 25/4 (1996), pp. 893– 910. Hancı, ‘Gecekondulas¸ma ve cocuk suc lulug˘u’. Sabah, 25 September 2003. Ug˘ur Du¨ndar, ‘Hırsız anatomisi’, Hu¨rriyet, 14 February 2005. Hu¨rriyet, 28 September 2003. Sabah, 25 September 2003. See Neil Brenner and Nik Theodore, ‘Cities and the geographies of actually existing neoliberalism’, Antipode 34/3 (2002), pp. 349– 79. Neil Brenner and Nik Theodore (eds), Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002). In fact, the whole issue of Antipode that features Brenner and Theodore’s article, ‘The Urbanization of Neoliberalism: Theoretical Debates,’ was devoted to understanding the urban dimensions of neoliberalism. David Harvey, Limits to Capital (London: Verso, 2007) Neil Smith, New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and Revanchist City (London: Routledge, 1996); Neil Smith and Peter Williams (eds), Gentrification of the City (Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1989); Neil Smith, ‘New globalism, new urbanism’. Smith, New Urban Frontier; Setha M. Low, ‘The edge and the center: Gated communities and the discourse of urban fear’, American Anthropologist 103/1 (2001), pp. 45 – 58. Brenner and Theodore, ‘Cities and the geographies of neoliberalism’; Tony Samara, ‘Policing development: Urban renewal as neo-liberal security strategy’, Urban Studies 47/1 (2010), pp. 197–214. Alper U¨nlu¨ and Erincik Edgu¨, ‘Kent merkezindeki konut alanları ve suc ’, I˙stanbul Dergisi (April 2001), pp. 86 –9; Erdal Gu¨mu¨s¸, ‘Crime in urban areas: An emprical investigation’, Akdeniz U¨niversitesi I˙I˙BF Dergisi 7 (2004), pp. 98– 109; Alper U¨nlu¨, ‘I˙stanbul’un go¨ru¨nmez merkezi Tarlabas¸ı’nın go¨ru¨nenleri’, Mimarist 5/17 (2005), pp. 48 – 53; Nilgu¨n Ergu¨n and Funda Yirmibes¸og˘lu, ‘Distribution of crime rates in different districts of Istanbul’, Turkish Studies 8/3 (2007), pp. 435 –55.



102. Ergu¨n and Yirmibes¸og˘lu, ‘Distribution of crime rates’, p. 436. 103. Ibid., p. 438. They conclude that the old centers of Istanbul are places where crime is concentrated, in line with the ecological school. Yet, what the Istanbul case fails to show is the low rates of crime in the shantytowns, which according to the premises of the ecological school are the criminogenic places. 104. Pulat, for instance, repeats the idea behind the broken windows theory, which states that security and protection from crime is integral to the quality of life in residential life. 105. Ayfer-Candan Bartu and Biray Kolluog˘lu, ‘Emerging spaces of neoliberalism: A gated town and a public housing project in Istanbul’, New Perspectives on Turkey 39 (2008), pp. 5 – 46. 106. Didem Danıs¸, ‘I˙stanbul’da uydu yerles¸melerin yaygınlas¸ması: Bahc es¸ehir o¨rneg˘i’, I. F. Gu¨mu¨s¸og˘lu (ed.), 21. Yu¨zyıl Kars¸ısında Kent ve I˙nsan (Istanbul: Bag˘lam, 2001); Sencer Ayata, ‘The middle class and the joys of suburbia’, in D. Kandiyoti and A. Saktanber (eds), Fragments of Culture: The Everyday of Modern Turkey (London: I.B.Tauris, 2002); A. I˙blikog˘lu, ‘Kapalı banliyo¨ler ve suc a bakıs¸’, Arredamento Mimarlık 7 – 8 (2003), pp. 68 – 9; Jean-Franc ois Perouse and A. Didem Danıs¸, ‘Zenginlig˘in mekanda yeni yansımaları: I˙stanbul’da gu¨venlikli siteler’, Toplum ve Bilim 104 (2005), pp. 92 – 123. 107. Radikal, 9 February 2005. 108. Hu¨rriyet, 8 February 2005. 109. Sabah, 16 April 2005. 110. Hall et al., Policing the Crisis, p. 225. 111. Arıtman has been one of the most racist voices in a recent debate over the apology campaign about the Armenian genocide. She attacked president Gu¨l for being an Armenian, in a derogatory manner, when he defended the apology campaign as a democratizing force. The CHP, on the other hand, was traditionally the social democratic party and still claims to be so. 112. Sabah, 28 April 2005. 113. Radikal, 5 January 2005. 114. Radikal, 24 February 2006. 115. Sabah, 24 February 2006. 116. Ibid. 117. Hu¨rriyet, 10 November 2009; Sabah, 11 February 2002; Ertan Bes¸e, ‘In the light of the “broken windows theory”, crime and security in urban life’, Turkish Journal of Police Studies 8/1 (2006), pp. 1 – 24.

Chapter 3 The Crisis and Reinvention of the Police 1. While the police have many other functions, its ideological constitution as a crime-fighting agency is quite powerful. Neocleous, Fabrication of Social Order. 2. Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, p. 340.



3. Walter Benjamin, ‘Critique of Violence’, in P. Demetz (ed.), Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms and Autobiographical Writings (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978). 4. Jacques Derrida, ‘Force of law: The mystical foundations of authority’, in D. Cornell, M. Rosenfeld and D. G. Carlson (eds), Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice (New York: Routledge, 1992), p. 43. 5. Foucault has a similar take on this issue. See, Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, p. 339. 6. Carolyn Strange, ‘The “shock” of torture: A historiographical challenge’, History Workshop Journal 61 (2006), p. 147. 7. Talal Asad, Formations of Secular: Christianity, Islam and Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003). 8. Ibid., p. 105. 9. Ibid., p. 104. 10. Ibid. 11. Darius M. Rejali, Torture and Modernity: Self, Society, and State in Modern Iran (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993). 12. Strange, ‘The “shock” of torture’, p. 148. 13. Caroline Elkins, Imperial Reckoning: the Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya (New York: Henry Holt, 2005); Marnia Lazreg, Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008). 14. Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’; ‘Neo-liberalizm ve toplumsalın yeniden kurgulanması: 1980 sonrası Batı’da ve Tu¨rkiye’de polis tes¸kilatları ve gec irdikleri yapısal do¨nu¨s¸u¨m’, Toplum ve Bilim 109 (2007), pp. 35 – 65. 15. Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’. 16. Ibid.; Ahmet H. Aydın, Police Organization and Legitimacy: Case studies of England, Wales, and Turkey (Aldershot: Avebury, 1997), p. 17. 17. Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’. 18. The Rapid Action Forces (RAF) were institutionally transformed from the former Society Police. The numbers of the RAF were 11,000 and the forces existed in 21 cities. In the 1990s, the number of RAF police rose up to 15,000. Currently there are about 18,000 members of this militarized unit and they exist in 81 cities. Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’, p. 232. 19. Newroz is the Kurdish newyear. Since, Newroz has been associated with Kurdish national identity, Newroz celebrations have been repressed by the Turkish state, further politicizing the festivities as an expression of discontent. 20. Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’. 21. It would be critical to show the links between the militarization of the Turkish police through the war, especially through the Anti-Terror Police, and the recent restructuring of the Public Order Police that will be mentioned later. However, there exist no studies that explicitly investigate the relationship between terror police and public order police. The only attempt comes from not the scholarly research but from detective novelists. Emrah Serbes who


22. 23.

24. 25. 26.


28. 29. 30.


writes detective fiction of murders, bases his stories on this tension between the two departments much more vividly. Through placing murder police division at the center, the stories of Serbes link the political violence of the police to the seemingly ordinary murder cases. Murders that the hero of the story Behc et C¸. tries to solve always carry him to the traces of political police and its extra-judicial killings and tortures of the state’s political enemies. In his second book, Son Hafriyat, an unfamiliar character of the serial killer, a.k.a Red Kit, revenges his parents’ slaughter in their house. Watching the police thundering through the door and executing his parents as a little kid, Red kit, takes justice in his hand when he grows older. The truth will unveil before Behc et C¸.’s team, yet there are limits to the truth; it is abounded by the departmental power relations. The murdererous police are not made the good heroes against the bad. The characters and the workings of the department are truthfully depicted. Behc et C¸. himself is saved from prosecution by his businessman brother who is connected to the networks of power, state-withinthe- state, even as he kills an innocent passerby during a pursuit. He can defy the ‘legal’ forces only if he submits to the power. Emrah Serbes, Her Temas I˙z Bırakır (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 2006); Son Hafriyat (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 2008). Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’, p. 128. I˙brahim Cerrah, ‘Polis’, in U¨. Cizre (ed.), Almanac Turkey 2005: Security Sector and Its Democratic Oversight (Istanbul: TESEV, 2006). See Footnote 4 of Chapter 1. For the full version of the Anti-Terror Law see, sbtwc/btwc/nat_imp/leg_reg/turkey/anti-terror.pdf Act no. 3713, article no. 1. The paragraph was amended on 15/07/2003. Article 11. People detained for offences under this law shall be presented before a judge within 48 hours [of their arrest]; in case of collective crimes, within 15 days excluding the time it takes to bring the suspect from the place of detention to the nearest court. Article 16: (1) The sentences of those convicted under the provisions of this law shall be executed in special penal institutions built with rooms each capable of holding between one and three persons. (2) In such institutions, free visits may not be allowed. Contacts between the convicts and communication with other convicts may be prevented. ¨ ner, Halkın Polisi: Pol-Der Anıları (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 2003). Sıtkı O Ibid. Also, Interview EGM, Captain, July 2008. Ays¸en Uysal, ‘Cop go¨lgesinde politika: Tu¨rkiye’de toplumsal olay polislig˘i ve sokak eylemleri’, Mu¨lkiye Dergisi 253 (2006), pp. 79– 94; Ali C¸ag˘lar, ‘Policing problems in Turkey: Processes, issues and the future’, in S. Einstein and M. Amir (eds), Police Corruption: Paradigms, Models and Concepts – Challenges for Developing Countries (Huntsville, TX: OICJ, 2003); ‘Recruitment in the Turkish Police’, Policing and Society 14/4 (2004), pp. 348 – 64; Yusuf Ziya ¨ zcan and Recep Gu¨ltekin, ‘Police and Politics in Turkey,’ British Society of O Criminology Conference, Selected Proceedings (Liverpool, 2000); Recep


31. 32.

33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

40. 41.

42. 43.


NOTES TO PAGES 84 –87 Gu¨ltekin, ‘ Problems Concerning the Appointments and Promotions in the Police Organization: Turkish Case’, unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation (Ankara: Middle East Technical Univesity, 1997). C¸ag˘lar posits that police misconduct and the recruitment processes and the training of the police are closely linked. A selection officer in C¸ag˘lar’s study claims: ‘Actually to be honest, we did something wrong. The streets show this to us. The bad image and aggressive police behaviors of the police officers proved that we did something wrong.’ C¸ag˘lar, ‘Recruitment in the Turkish Police’, p. 358. Ibid. Zu¨beyir Kındıra, Fethullah’ın Copları (Ankara: Su Yayınları, 2001); Hanefi Avcı, Halic’te Yas¸ayan Simonlar: Du¨n Devlet Bugu¨n Cemaat (Ankara: Angora, 2010). ¨ zcan and Gu¨ltekin, ‘Police and Politics in Turkey’. O Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’. Ibid., pp. 131– 2. Tanıl Bora, ‘Polis partisi’, Birikim 141 (1992), pp. 8 – 10. Ibid. Uysal, ‘Cop go¨lgesinde politika’. This attitude of the police can be exemplified by their repression of the Mothers of Saturday, who, like the Argentina’s Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, were asking for justice for those who disappeared while in detention by security forces. Both Plaza de Mayo and Mothers of Saturday arose in reaction to state violence. The demonstrations in Turkey initially started with the discovery of Hasan Ocak’s dead body in a graveyard 55 days after his detention in 21 March 1995. He was tortured to death. Families of other disappeared persons joined the Ocak’s family. From 1995 to 1999, every Saturday the silent demonstrations continued. The police in Turkey utilized disproportionate violence and other tactics of repression over the Mothers of Saturday. Bianet, 31 January 2009. Koray Du¨zgo¨ren, ‘Biz s¸imdi bu O¨zel Timi ne yapalım?’ Radikal, 13 December 1996. Tanıl Bora on the 1992 police demonstration analyses the politicization of the police as a reflection of its growing autonomy within the state structures. Police acts as an independent political actor, who struggles for power in the spaces reserved for political actors: the street, the public discursive spheres as well as political parties. In Bora’s words, the police itself can be seen as a ‘police party’ who is able to pursue its interests in the political arena. Bora, ‘Polis partisi’. I˙HA, ‘Sloganlı cevap’ (2007). Available at aspx?nid¼6198&cid¼12 Socialists, student activists, Kurds, as well as fascist were victimized in the criminal justice institutions during the military regime. Although the fascists celebrated the coup, their radicalism was punished. Tanıl Bora, and Kemal Can, Devlet, Ocak, Dergah (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 1991). Devrim Sevimay, Resmen I˙s¸kence (Istanbul: Metis, 2001).



45. Sema Pis¸kinsu¨t, Filistin Askısından Fezlekeye: I˙s¸kencenin Kitabı (Ankara: Bilgi Yayınevi, 2001). 46. Cited in TI˙HV, Tu¨rkiye I˙nsan Hakları Raporu (Ankara, 2008), p. 355. Available at 47. The statistics are provided by the TNP in responding to TI˙HV’s use of the information act. 48. See ECtHR report at ENG.pdf 49. Turkish Daily News, 13 December 1996. 50. Evrensel, 4 November 2006; Turkish Daily News, 3 April 1997. 51. Act of Criminal Procedure No. 1412 of 4 April 1929. 52. Nihat Du¨ndar, ‘Polis go¨zu¨yle CMUK deg˘is¸iklig˘i’, Tu¨rk I˙dare Dergisi 65/398 (1993), p. 144. 53. The police members, who participated in the protest in 2000, were given several disciplinary punishments after an internal administrative investigation; and they were even tried in the Supreme Court. Supreme Court decision in 2006 established that ‘the protest of the police members against the attacks on security forces is a democratic reaction as a result of their grief.’ Hu¨rriyet, 9 November 2006. 54. Sabah, 28 March 2005. 55. Tercu¨man, 22 August 2006. The news series on the problems of the police interviewed various police members in different cities across Turkey. 56. Ibid. 57. Sevimay, Resmen I˙s¸kence. 58. Tercu¨man, 22 August 2006. 59. See a short discussion of these statistics in Chapter 3. 60. Radikal, 10 March 2005. 61. Yeni S¸afak, 13 February 2005. The article is titled ‘Police resistance to CMUK.’ 62. Sabah, 28 April 2005. 63. Arda, Asayis¸ Olayları, p. 17. 64. Tercu¨man, 22 August 2006. 65. Sabah, 17 – 18 January 2004; Sabah, 30 July 2004. 66. The coming of the year 2000 brought up a series of assessments in the institutions of the state. Several conferences held concerning the adapting the new police organization, including ‘Turkish National Police at the turn of the millennium’ which discussed new problems faced, new solutions and strategies to be followed. 67. The impossibility of questioning the treatment of common crimes within the criminal justice institutions in Turkey had become very obvious to me not so long after arriving in Istanbul in order to start my research. I was waiting with a group of people outside the Sisli Courthouse in support of Armenian newspaper Agos, whose editors were being tried for a news story they had published about the Armenian Genocide. The court was dismissed and lawyers





71. 72. 73.

74. 75. 76. 77.

78. 79. 80.


NOTES TO PAGES 98 –101 of the newspaper came out giving the news to waiting group. A woman next to me commented about the lawyer who was informing us about the court proceedings. She had recognized him from a court case of a kapkac incident in which she was a witness. She could not comprehend how he could protect criminals and why criminals were given access to lawyers for free. While she was in front of Courthouse to demand justice from the court, she was in support of an anti-democratic criminal justice system against the common criminals, in her case, three young girls stealing clothes from a storefront in Taksim, Istanbul. Zeynep Go¨nen and Deniz Yonucu, ‘Legitimizing violence and segregation: Neoliberal discourses on crime and criminalization of urban poor populations in Turkey’, in A. Bourke et al. (eds), Lumpencity: Discourses of Marginalization, Marginalizing Discourses (Ottawa, ON: Red Quill Books, 2011). Zeynep Gambetti, ‘I˙ktidarın do¨nu¨s¸en c ehresi: Neoliberalizm, s¸iddet ve kurumsal siyasetin tasfiyesi’, I˙.U¨. Siyasal Bilimler Faku¨ltesi Dergisi 40 (2009), pp. 143 – 64; Tanıl Bora, Tu¨rkiye’nin Linc Rejimi (Istanbul: I˙letis¸im, 2008). In response to the Gezi Uprisings in 2013, the government made changes in the PVSK equipping the police with new powers. With the new paragraphs added to the PVSK, it is now legal for the police to search citizens randomly without prosecutor’s or judge’s permission, to take statements without attorneys, and to extend the detention periods up to 48 hours without having to report to prosecutor’s office. See the document at Bianet, 17 June 2009. Elif Babu¨l, ‘Human Rights Translations: Reframing the Univeral for Turkish Beuracuracy’ American Anthropological Association Meeting, Philedelphia, PA (2– 5 December 2009). Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991). Ibid. Ibid., p. 234. I˙brahim Cerrah, Gu¨venlik hizmetleri ve demokratikles¸me: Demokratikles¸menin gu¨venlik hizmetlerine yansımasında I˙ngiltere o¨rneg˘i ve Tu¨rk polisinin cag˘das¸ yapılanması ic in alınabilecek dersler’, Polis Bilimleri Dergisi 1/2 (1998), pp. 56 – 71; ‘Gu¨venlik kuvvetlerinin evrimi ıs¸ıg˘ında yakın geleceg˘e bakıs¸’; Gu¨nu¨mu¨z Tu¨rk Polisi Panel Bilidirileri (Ankara, 2004). Berksoy, ‘The policing of social discontent’. Cerrah, ‘Gu¨venlik kuvvetlerinin evrimi’. Ali Rıza Uc ar, ‘Polis ve halkla ilis¸kler’, Polis Dergisi 9 (1997), pp. 7 – 10; Remzi Fındıklı, ‘Gu¨venlik hizmetlerinin etkinlig˘i ac ısından polis-halk ilis¸kilerinin anlam ve o¨nemi’, Polis Halk I˙s¸birlig˘i Sempozyumu Bildirileri (Ankara: Polis Akademisi, 1995). Ahmet H. Aydın, ‘I˙nsan hakları ve polisin gu¨c kullanma yetkisi’, Gu¨nu¨mu¨z Tu¨rk Polisi Panel Bildirileri (Ankara: I˙cis¸leri Bakanlıg˘ı, 2004); Mehmet Kul



83. 84.




and Fatih Demir, ‘Emniyet tes¸kilatına sosyolojik bakıs¸’, Polis Dergisi 7/26 (2001), pp. 1 – 3. Ahmet H. Aydın, ‘I˙nsan hakları ve polisin gu¨c kullanma yetkisi’; ‘Gu¨venlik politika ve uygulamalarının mes¸ruiyeti: Uzlas¸ma ve zor kullanma durumu’, Amme I˙daresi Dergisi 29/4 (1997b), pp. 65– 72. Ankara Emniyet Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, Polis-Halk I˙lis¸kileri ve Halk Desteg˘ini Alma: Davranıs¸ I˙lkeleri Rehberi (Ankara: Ankara EGM, 1997). Community policing was first developed in Britain in response to the 1981 Bristol riots, which had exposed the crisis in policing there. The public was fully dissatisfied with the urban policing. The police initially responded with increasing patrol units, and then tried to integrate community in the policing processes. The ‘public’, however, included not the whole society, but those ‘respectable citizens’, as a police captain from the EGM suggests: ‘Community policing depends on the place: the areas where respectable and elite segments of the population live.’ Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 6, July 2008. On this issue see, Aydın,‘I˙nsan hakları ve polisin gu¨c kullanma yetkisi’; Halil I˙brahim Kavgacı, ‘Polis organizasyonunda demokratik deg˘is¸im: Bag˘ımsız bir polis s¸ikayet sistemi ve halkın polislig˘e katılımı’, Polis Bilimleri Dergisi 1/1 (1998), pp. 761– 78. Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 5, July 2008.

Chapter 4 Giuliani in Izmir: Restructuring of Public Order Policing and Criminalizing the ‘Target Populations’ 1. In the defence statement of the Dev-Sol, which is a left-wing organization tried after the 1980 coup, C¸apkın was listed among those leading police and military members who ‘were equipped with extraordinary authority and power to pursue the human hunts and torture police and armed forces were implementing.’ Also, when he was the chief of the Manisa police one of the high profile torture cases against the 16 leftist high school students had taken place. During the case, also known as ‘Manisa Youth’ he had made public statements in support of the accused police officers claiming that ‘the police members who fight with terror have always been targets of such accusations.’ His work in Bursa incorporated conservative Islamist tones to the policing of the city. He praised the times of Ramadan, the holy month in curbing the crime in the city as alcohol consumption declined. In a statement he made for an Islamist newspaper he proclaimed his views on crime: ‘When we look at the root of common crimes we see selfish, calculating anti-social behavior, and inability to control oneself. Compared to other days, the charities to poor and examples of solidarity have a rehabilitating effect on criminally-inclined people.’ Sol, 19 June 2009.



2. It is quite hard to access the budget of the TNP or any of its organs for that matter. I was not able to find the annual budget of the Izmir Police Department. However, the interviewees mentioned the rise of the material resources of the Izmir Police. The Izmir Governor of the time, Og˘uz Kag˘an Ko¨ksal, ‘promised allocation of resources to the police department and gave all the support he can for the department’ according to the assistant chief of Izmir Police. After the termination of his governorship in Izmir, Ko¨ksal (2005– 2007) was appointed as the Head of EGM in March 2007. According to Municipal Law no. 5442, article 11c; the governors have an important role in issues of crime and security since 1949. Moreover, Ko¨ksal and C¸apkın had a long history working together. In Adana and Bursa, Ko¨ksal was the governor and C¸apkın chief of police. 3. Sarac og˘lu, Kurds of Modern Turkey. 4. Peace Teams Document. 5. Ibid. 6. Kenthaber, 17 May 2006. 7. Peace Teams Document. 8. See Chapter 3, for a short discussion of these units. 9. Yeni Asır, 4 June 2009. 10. Interview, Konak Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, April 2008. 11. Ibid. 12. Sabah, 9 September 2008. 13. During the initial days of my research in Izmir, trying to grasp the atmosphere and looking for questions before answering them, I jumped at the opportunity to go to court with my friend who had been mugged. Though, before she even realized she was a victim, two ‘young and polite’ plainclothes policemen stopped her to return her purse. She was surprised but did not really understand what was going on. She had been mugged, they informed her. On the day of trial, my friend and I went to Izmir Juvenile Court and waited in a hall opening to several smaller courtrooms. Others were waiting their turns, mostly young kids in their jeans and their slick hairstyles. It was not hard to understand that they were poor kids. By each courtroom door there was the list of the day’s proceedings, including the name of the defendant and the accusation. A quick look at this list, one could realize that large portion of the cases were about petty crimes, mostly theft. 14. Izmir is among the nine pilot cities that are trying to adapt communitypolicing practices. 15. Tanıl Bora, ‘O¨zel gu¨venlik ve polis toplumu’, Birikim 178 (2004), pp. 20 – 3. 16. Data is retrieved from kurum¼1. 17. Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 3, July 2008. 18. The project title is: ‘Establishing police centers instead of police stations which are abundant in quantity but insufficient in personnel and equipment in


19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

36. 37. 38. 39.


order to serve the public.’ It was proposed by Nihat Du¨ndar, a high level captain at the EGM. General Directorate of Security (22.12.1993), circular letter no. B.05.1. EGM. 93 – 276. Appended letters to the circular letter no. B.05.1.EGM. Interview, EGM, Public Order Police Division, no. 3, July 2008. According to a captain, this kind of treatment of the police station ‘hurt the station officers,’ (Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 2, July 2008) who feel punished and unappreciated. The appointment in the stations was also used as a form of penalty for those who are not effective in the street work. Richard Ericson and Kevin Haggerty, Policing the Risk Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 298– 9. Peace Teams Document. Public Order Teams Document. Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, no. 1, May 2008; Interview, Izmir Public Order Division, Assistant to Chief, April 2008. CCTV Networks have become an integral part of the large metropolises as a new technology of power, which control and discipline city dwellers. Nicholas Fyfe and Jon Bannister, ‘City watching: Closed circuit television surveillance in public spaces’, Area 28/1 (1996), pp. 37 – 46. Public Order Teams Document. Interview, Izmir Public Order Division, Assistant to Chief, April 2008. Ibid. Tim Newburn, ‘Commodification of policing: Security networks in late modern city’, Urban Studies 38/5 –6 (2001), pp. 829– 48. Yeni Asır, 14 March 2008. Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, May 2008. Interview, Konak Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, April 2008. The importance of territoriality to the police work can also be seen in the new territorial technologies it incorporated. Especially the Geographical Information System (GIS) has for instance especially been experimented with by the TNP. In the Public Order division of the EGM, a new group was organized to develop the system to be applied in cities. The applications of GIS in Turkey have been thoroughly discussed in a symposium on police information technologies. For more information, see E. Karakas¸ and Arslan H. Karadog˘an, ‘Suc aras¸tırmalarında CBS sistemiyle olus¸turulan haritaların o¨nemi’, Polis Bilis¸im Sempozyumu (Ankara, 2003); H. Aksoy, ‘Cog˘rafi Bilgi Sistemi Uygulamaları: Bursa Modeli’, Birinci Polis Bilis¸im Sempozyumu (Ankara: I˙cis¸leri Bakanlıg˘ı, Emniyet Genel Mu¨du¨rlu¨g˘u¨, Bilgi I˙s¸lem Dairesi Bas¸kanlıg˘ı, 2003). Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, officer, May 2008. Interview, Konak Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, April 2008. Interview, Izmir Bar Association, December 2007. Interview, Izmir Public Order Division, assistant chief, April 2008.



40. Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, no. 1, May 2008. 41. I was allowed to participate in one meeting from each unit. The Peace Teams meeting was in an events centre in Izmir’s big fair. I have also participated in the Konak Public Order Teams’ meeting in their headquarters. In the Peace Teams meeting, those in attendance were mostly male in their 30s, well built with a clean outlook. When I arrived, the peace police officers were hanging outside the building before the meeting started. My presence was curious. Being woman was already enough to attract the attention. Out of around approximately 250 people in the room, only I and one other person were women. She, also a member of the teams, introduced herself to me at the end of the meeting. Also very fit and in her 30s, she reminded me of a character from a TV crime series. She was strikingly confident and beautiful within a very male world of police. During the meeting, I sat amongst the crowd in spite of being offered a place in the stage with the superiors who are responsible for the direction of the meeting. The Public Order Teams meeting was much more formal and small, and took place in the meeting room of the headquarters. Only one officer from each team was present. They represented their teams in these bi-weekly meetings. Officers were in their uniforms patiently listening to the captains and getting permission before they speak. I was asked to sit with the captains in front of the room facing the officers. 42. The real format of the table is replicated in this translation. 43. Public Order Police Document. 44. The community policing, too, was a part of the preventive policing strategies, which required better public police relations as the captain of the preventive police division explained. In these schemes, police constitute the liaison between the public and the other institutions. 45. See,¼282198 46. See, 47. Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 3, July 2008. 48. Ibid. 49. Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 5, July 2008. 50. The problem with the model in Izmir is that it depends on the local dynamics and the willingness of the personnel. There are particularities in each city that prevents standardized projects to be applied everywhere. For instance, there are problems with the collection of statistics from different institutions, and the problems among these create problems with the statistics. Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 5, July 2008. 51. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, ‘Broken windows: The Police and neighborhood safety’, Atlantic Monthly 29 (1982), p. 38. 52. George L. Kelling and Cathereine M. Cole, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities (New York: Free Press, 1996); Wesley Skogan, Disorder and Decline: Crime and the Spiral of Decay in American Neighbourhoods (New York: Free Press, 1990). 53. Shaw and McKay, Juvenile Delinquency. Also see Shaw et al., Delinquency Areas.



54. See Chapter 2. 55. Herbert and Brown, ‘Conceptions of space and time’, pp. 759 – 60. 56. Andrea McArdle, ‘Introduction’, in A. McArdle and T. Erzen (eds), Zero Tolerance (New York: New York University Press, 2001), p. 6. Also see Sasha Torres, ‘Giuliani time: Urban policing and Brooklyn South’, Violence & Abuse Abstracts 7/3 (2001), pp. 163– 252. 57. Tanya Erzen, ‘Turnstile Jumpers and Broken Windows: Policing Disorder in New York City’, in A. McArdle and T. Erzen (eds), Zero Tolerance (New York: New York University Press, 2001). 58. McArdle, ‘Introduction’, p. 8. According to data released by the NYPD, the number of ‘stop-and-frisks’ conducted by the city’s police force rose to over 601,000 in 2010. See, 59. San Francisco, Baltimore, Sacramento are some of the US cities which adapted broken windows theory into their policing strategies and quality of life campaigns. Britain under Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of the first to implement its own version of zero-tolerance outside the US. McArdle, ‘Introduction’. 60. Interview, Konak Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, April 2008. 61. Ibid. 62. The use of the GBT, according to I˙nanıcı, goes back to the September 12 Military Coup and has been operating under the ‘unannounced regulations’ of KI˙HBI˙ (Smuggling Intelligence, Operation, Intelligence Gathering). However, legal basis for the GBT use by Turkish Police Organization is highly questionable. The police’s use of the GBT rests on the Law on the Internal Ministry Organization and Duties dated 1985. With this article the police are given the right to keep the records of those people who have been convicted of an offence. Secondly, I˙nanıcı asserts that the law is about the smuggling and should only include these cases. However, the police use this for keeping the report on all kinds of crimes. Another legal basis is the PVSK, which provides the police the right to gather intelligence. While, the intelligence gathering is limited to those cases where there is probability of a criminal act, and cannot be extensive and arbitrary, according to I˙nanıcı, the police use it extensively. I˙nanıcı, Halil, ‘Genel bilgi toplama’, in A. Bayramog˘lu and A. Insel (eds), Almanak Tu¨rkiye 2008: Gu¨venlik Sekto¨ru¨ ve Demokratik Go¨zetim (Istanbul: TESEV, 2009). 63. Takvim, 11 December 2008. Also see, 20081211/Polis-GBTyle-avliyor.php 64. I˙nanıcı, ‘Genel bilgi toplama’, p. 238. 65. Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, May 2008. 66. Ibid. 67. Bimekan kis¸iler is literally translates to: placeless persons. I translated it as homeless persons even though for homeless the word evsiz is used. 68. See

244 69. 70. 71. 72.

73. 74.

75. 76.

77. 78. 79.


81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86.

NOTES TO PAGES 136 –147 Public Order Police Document. Ibid. Radikal, 17 May 2008. According to a research made by the World Public Opinion in 2008, 51 per cent of Turkish public agrees that under certain circumstances, when lives of innocent people are threatened, torture of terrorists is acceptable. Paker, Murat, ‘Engin C¸eber katledildi: I˙s¸kence, yeniden’, Birikim 235 (2008), pp. 3 – 6. Through an empirical study in Izmir, Go¨regenli also shows that, at least 36 per cent of her respondents thought that torture was necessary in confessions. Go¨regenli, Melek, S¸iddet, Ko¨tu¨ Muamele ve I˙s¸kenceye I˙lis¸kin Deg˘erlendirmeler, Tutumlar ve Deneyimler (Izmir: Izmir Barosu Yayınları, 2004). Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 1, May 2008. A captain in Konak Public Order Teams explains: ‘Hu¨seyin C¸apkın is a respected and a good policeman. He has nothing to do with the “protocol.” If he wanted to, he would be spending his time in invitations, dinners, but he stays in the police stations all day long’. Interview, Konak Public Order Teams, Captain, no. 2, April 2008. See Chapter 3. During the trial of the police officer, various members of the Izmir Police department came to the court to display their power and verbally and psychologically break the spirits of Tursun’s family at the court site. At the same time, the public statements of Baran Tursun’s father against the Izmir Police were charged with ‘trying to affect the court process’ and ‘threatening the police officers’. Dario Melossi, ‘Strategies of control in capitalism: A comment on recent work’, Crime, Law and Social Cause 4/4 (1980), p. 388. Report no. 13 (07/2005). Many reports complain about the treatment during arrest. For instance, Report no. 209-210 (1/2007) and Report no. 211 (01/2007) are about people detained with theft suspicion; they accuse the police with beating them and pepper spraying. A large portion of the reports included a charge of resisting police authority. For example, Report no. 5 (09/2005), Report no. 2 (06/2005), Report no. 212– 13 (06/2007) and Report no. 75 (05/2006), Report no. 158 (11/2006), Report no. 12 (05/2005), Report no. 11 (07/2005), and Report no. 58 (2006). Report no. 78 – 9 (05/2006). Bianet, 18 June 2009. Report no. 169 (11/2006). Interview, EGM, Public Order Division, no. 6, July 2008. Report no. 82 (05/2006). Bianet, 10 September 2009.


Chapter 5


Policing a Kurdish Shantytown

1. Yeni Asır, 6 June 2006; 11 June 2006; 20 June 2006; 25 June 2006. 2. Yeni Asır, 20 July 2007; Zaman, 20 June 2009; Yenicag˘, 4 April 2010. 3. Sabah, 19 June 2009. After his appointment in Istanbul, C¸apkın initiated similar practices. One of the first new police practices was to ticket transsexual persons with ‘acting against the public morals’. Police officers were eager to give tickets for the new ‘bonus system’. C¸apkın was aslo in office during the Gezi protests. Despite the demands of the protestors for his removal, C¸apkın was only taken off his position when high-profile corruption operation by the Istanbul police became public in 2013. The investigation involved many key people of AKP, including four of government’s ministers. This operation by Istanbul police was not in his knowledge, as C¸apkın claimed. 4. I established connections with residents from different areas in Narlıdere, and used snowball sampling to find my other interviewees. I also contacted key people, such as political party representatives, municipality officials, neighborhood headmen in the two different neighborhoods, and the schoolteachers of the only school in Tepe: I˙kinci I˙no¨nu¨ I˙lko¨gretim Okulu. The beginning of the research coincided with a culmination of anti-Kurdish sentiments, as the conflict between Kurdish guerillas and Turkish army got heated. The army restarted military operations in Northern Iraq to eliminate the guerilla groups. In reaction to the PKK, spontaneous demonstrations erupted in many places around Turkey. The demonstrators held their Turkish flags and shouted slogans against the PKK and Kurds. Some of the demonstrations directly targeted Kurdish neighborhoods. Narlıdere’s main street also hosted one. According to some residents of Tepe, the Kurdish community was quite intimidated by the possibility that an attack would take place. For others, the democratic base of the district prevented an attack. The general mood during those days, nonetheless, was very tense; it was questionable that I could continue the research, since people may not want to talk to me in such an environment of distrust. I started with interviews in lower Narlıdere, talking to residents, shop owners, political party members, municipality officials, schoolteachers, etc. Only after the demonstrations ceased, I resumed the fieldwork in Tepe in October 2007. 5. Semahat O¨zdemir et al., ‘I˙mar afları sonrasında I˙zmir’de gecekondu gelis¸imi u¨zerine bir deg˘erlendirme’, Du¨nya S¸ehircilik Gu¨nu¨, Yoksulluk, Kent Yoksullug˘u ve Planlama konulu Kolokyum (6– 8 November 2002), p. 146. The biggest migration to Izmir took place between 1976 and 1980, and during the early migration period in 1971– 5. Narlıdere was an important destination in these waves of migration. C¸etin Tu¨rkc u¨ et al., ‘I˙zmir o¨zelinde go¨c ve yapılanmıs¸ cevre: Gecekondu olgusu, toplukonut uygulamaları’, Ege Mimarlık 19 (1996), pp. 16 – 20. ¨ zdemir et al., ‘I˙zmir’de gecekondu gelis¸imi’, p. 146. The project conducted 6. O by the Narlıdere Municipality was an early example of urban transformation



8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16.

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

NOTES TO PAGES 155 –161 projects that are currently being conducted by TOKI˙ (Mass Housing Agency) in various different cities. Compared to new urban transformation projects conducted by the stateprivate cooperation, this early version of urban transformation experience in Narlıdere was argued to be much better. Yet, at the time of the demolitions, there were clashes between shantytown dwellers and the police. The shantytown dwellers were granted rights to the newly constructed apartment houses only if they had the titles to their shanties. On the other hand, the new apartment complex built for the shantytown dwellers, Narkent, was both visibly and quality-wise different than Narbel. They were less sturdy, the material used and workmanship was inferior. Those involved in the process of negotiation and construction have confirmed this. Interviewee no. 18. Male, 50s, Kurdish, Tepe. Narlıdere Gu¨ndem, 20 November 2006. ¨ zdemir et al., ‘I˙zmir’de gecekondu gelis¸imi’. O Ibid. Ibid. In the case of general migration figures of Izmir, most of the migrants are from Aegean Region (41.12 per cent) and secondly from eastern and south-eastern region (28.27 per cent). Tu¨rkc u¨ et al., ‘I˙zmir o¨zelinde go¨c’, p. 17. ¨ zdemir et al., ‘I˙zmir’de gecekondu gelis¸imi’. 48 per cent in O Bug˘ra and Keyder, New Poverty. To further specify the conditions of life, in O¨zdemir et al., green card holders (free health care provided only the poorest and unemployed) constituted 24 per cent of the total population, while 51 per cent did not have any access to social security. Apart from a green card, the only other thing the neighborhood ¨ zdemir’s study, almost 60 per cent of the received was the primary school. In O population in the area is between ages 0 – 14 and 15 – 26. The education level is low: 67 per cent of men and only 41 per cent of women have only finished 5th grade. About 28 per cent of men and 59 per cent of all women had never been to school. Children’s education levels were much higher due to the introduction of obligatory primary schooling. O¨zdemir et al., ‘I˙zmir’de gecekondu gelis¸imi’, p. 151. Ibid., p. 151. Interviewee no. 33, male, 50s, Kurdish, Tepe. Interviewee no. 41, male, 16, Kurdish, Tepe. Bug˘ra and Keyder, New Poverty, p. 25. Interviewee no. 8, male, middle-aged, Turkish, Tepe. Interviewee no. 9, male, late 50s, Kurdish, Tepe. Interviewee no. 23, female, 70s, Kurdish, Tepe. By ‘family’, he means the women in the family. Interviewee no. 21, male, late 40s, Kurdish, Tepe. David Harvey, ‘Right to the city’, New Left Review 53 (2008), pp. 23 – 42; Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (London: Verso, 2006).



26. Smith and Williams (eds), Gentrification of the City; Smith, New Urban Frontier; ‘New globalism, new urbanism: Gentrification as urban strategy’, Antipode 34/3 (2002), pp. 427– 50. 27. Tuzla Aras¸tırma Grubu, ‘Neoliberalism and Kurdish question in Turkey: The case of Tuzla dockyards’, Toplum ve Kuram 1 (2009), pp. 119– 88; HU¨NEE, Internally Displaced Population Survey. 28. Bug˘ra and Keyder, New Poverty; C¸ag˘lar Keyder, ‘Globalization and social exclusion in Istanbul’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29/1 (2005), pp. 124– 34. 29. Sarac og˘lu, Kurds of Modern Turkey. 30. Narlıdere Gu¨ndem, 25 August 2005. 31. Caldeira, City of Walls. 32. Ibid., pp. 19 – 20. 33. Interviewee no. 12, male, 60, Turkish, Tepe. 34. Interviewee no. 20, female, 40, Turkish, Tepe. 35. Interviewee no. 32, female, 63, Turkish, lower Narlıdere. 36. As one of the interviewees explains, the public space remains mostly a male space: ‘My daughters are going to school; they have nothing to do with the street. The school bus takes them from in front of the door and takes them back. Women are generally like this, at home. There are those who go to lean houses and to the orchards, but otherwise they are at home.’ Interviewee no. 21. 37. Interviewee no. 10, male, 30s, Turkish, Tepe. 38. Interviewee no. 11, male, 60s, Turkish, lower Narlıdere. By “them,” he means Kurds in Tepe. 39. Interviewee no. 7, male, 60s, Turkish, lower Narlıdere. 40. Interviewee no. 9. 41. Interviewee no. 20. 42. Interviewee no 34, male, 50s, Kurdish, Tepe. 43. Interviewee no. 17, male, 40, Kurdish, lower Narlıdere. 44. The group was composed of three middle-class residents of Narlıdere. 45. She is recalling the famous saying of Turgut O¨zal (ex prime-minister and president), which implied that corruption and bribery was acceptable in order to better their conditions. His was a proponent of the self-seeking individual in coordination with neoliberalism. 46. 1 billion TL was worth a bit less than $1000 at the time of interview. 47. The wife of Turgut O¨zal. 48. Interviewee no. 17. 49. Interviewee no. 3, female, late 30s, Turkish, lower Narlıdere. 50. Interviewee no. 7. 51. Interviewee no. 16, female, late 30s, Turkish, lower Narlıdere. 52. Interviewee no. 15, male, mid-60s, Kurdish, lower Narlıdere. 53. Interviewee no. 12. 54. Interviewee no. 15. 55. Interviewee no. 17.



56. Interviewee no. 14, male, late 40s, Kurdish, lower Narlıdere. 57. Apo is short for Abdullah O¨calan, the leader of the PKK, now imprisoned in Imrali prison island. 58. Interviewee no. 8. 59. ‘Ortak yayın’ is a slang expression for cooperation. 60. The new district police headquarter established in 1997. It is a much larger building, seperate from the Public Order Headquarters. 61. Interviewee no. 11. 62. Interviewee no. 13, male, middle-aged, Turkish, lower Narlıdere. 63. Interviewee no. 17. 64. Interviewee no. 12. 65. Interviewee no. 15. 66. The people in the neighborhood, espcially the youth use ‘GBT’ye koymak’ (to put on GBT). 67. Interviewee no. 40, male, 19, Kurdish, Tepe. 68. Balc ova Headquarter was responsible of three districts: Balc ova, Narlıdere and Gu¨zebahc e. 69. Interview, Balc ova Public Order Teams, captain, no. 1, May 2008. 70. Interviewee no. 39, male, 25, Kurdish, Tepe. 71. Interviewee no. 40. 72. Interviewee no. 31, male, early 20s, Kurdish, Tepe. 73. Interviewee no. 24, male, 20, Kurdish, Tepe. 74. Kurds have been long profiled in the operations of the security forces. Before the new policing practices, they were also asked for IDs and questioned, especially if they were out of place. As an example, we can look at the story by a 30-year old Kurdish man, who had a job in the upper-class beach town C¸es¸me as a construction worker. He found himself in the police station when he was taking his weekly break at the beach: ‘It was Sunday and I went swimming. When I was walking I saw a car with a 34 license plate; I did not know which city it was. I took out my notebook; it had a list for city codes. Right away the officer in the police car called me. They asked for my ID. I gave the ID. They asked: “Are you from Elazıg˘?” “Yes I am.” “Come, we are going to the station.” I said, “What is wrong?” They said I would learn it at the station. I got in; there were two other guys in the car, and I asked them where we were going. They told me that their wallets were stolen and they suspected me. I was relieved; there was nothing on me. In the police station, they searched me and then asked me what I was doing in C¸es¸me. At the time I was working there in a company, I explained to them. “This is my day off and I went swimming,” I said. They called the company and asked them about me. They realized I was telling the truth. They said “OK, you go” but basically they kicked me out and told me to never go back there, as if I willingly went there.’ Interviewee no. 19; male, 30, Kurdish, Tepe. But, the new technologies made the processes much easier and effective. Kurdish people were not just profiled when they were in places where they were


75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84.

85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94.

95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106.


‘not supposed to be’, but also in their own neighborhoods, as the preventive policing moved forward. Interviewee no. 38, male, middle-aged, Kurdish, Tepe. Interviewee no. 39. Ibid. Ibid. Interviewee no. 24. Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 27, male, early 20s, Kurdish, Tepe. Interviewee no. 31. Interviewee no. 36, male, 75, Kurdish, Tepe. Ece Temelkuran, ‘O¨teki S¸ehrin I˙nsanları’, Milliyet, 6 – 11 March 2007; Gu¨ls¸en I˙s¸eri, Metropol Su¨rgu¨nleri: Denize Ekmek Banıp Yiyenlerin Hikayesi (Istanbul: Su Yayınevi, 2010). F-type prisons are isolation prisons similar to maximum security facilities in the US. Temelkuran, ‘O¨teki S¸ehrin I˙nsanları’. Ibid. Also, I˙s¸eri, Metropol Su¨rgu¨nleri. As an interviewee in Tepe suggests, ‘whenever there is politicization, 100– 150 Rapid Action Units attack.’ Interviewee no. 21. Interviewee no. 33. Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 27. Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 41. Interviewee no. 40. With the word honour, he is referring to the women in the house. Tepe is a patriarchal space, where the ‘honour’ of its women is to be protected by the men. If men hang out in residential streets, in front of other people’s homes, this can be understood as an improper act against the women, a threat to their honour. That is why the only safe space for the youth to hang out is the public square, or the single homes (bekar evleri). Interviewee no. 31. Interviewee no. 36. Interviewee no. 39. Interviewee no. 37, male, 70s, Kurdish, Tepe. Interviewee no. 24. Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 24. He is referring to Baran Tursun, who was shot in the head because he did not obey the stop call of the police (See Chapter 5). Benjamin, ‘Critique of Violence’. Interviewee no. 31. Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 24. Interviewee no. 40.

250 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115.


117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130.

131. 132. 133. 134.

NOTES TO PAGES 192 –200 Ibid. Interviewee no. 24. Interviewee no. 27. Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 21. Interviewee no. 39. Interviewee no. 33. Interviewee no. 29, male, 50s, Kurdish, Tepe. Not only the police and prisons, but also new elements in the criminal justice system, started to control the youth. Even though they were not very effectively working, these new institutions tried to control the ex-offenders. Psychologists, parole officers conducted monthly visits which continued to be a part of the lives of those who were entangled in the criminal justice system: ‘I have a psychologist, I did not go. In fact you are obliged to go. I had probation. I missed the first appointment; they gave me a new one. We will see what happens. But there are friends of mine who go; you chat with the psychologist, you pee to be tested. If there is anything in your blood you go to prison for a year.’ Interviewee no. 40. Interviewee no. 24. He summarizes his involvement in crime, ‘Anything you can think of I have it in my record: fight, theft, assault, burning the flag, whatever you want. They accused us of all of it. We also make mistakes. Where are we mistaken? For instance we came here from Diyarbakır. We always saw bad environments. The places we grow up are not good places.’ Interviewee no. 24. Ibid. Tayyip Erdog˘an. Interviewee no. 39. Interviewee no. 34. Interviewee no. 17. Interviewee no. 11. Interviewee no. 29. Interviewee no. 14. Interviewee no. 1, male, 50s, Kurdish, lower Narlıdere. Interviewee no. 18. Interviewee no. 38. Interviewee no. 14. Ibid. ‘Love it or leave it’ (Ya sev ya terk et) is a popular saying adopted by Turkish nationalists urging for patriotism and rejection of any form of resistance to or opposition to the state policies. Interviewee no. 40. Wacquant, ‘Deadly symbiosis’. Ibid., p. 98. Ibid.

NOTES TO PAGES 201 – 203


135. Interviewee no. 21. His friend who was present during the interview told no stories of the sort. I asked whether similar things happened to his friend, who also an Alevi. He said: ‘No, since I am from So¨ke nothing happened to me.’ So¨ke is a town in Izmir. 136. Male, 70, Kurdish, Tepe. 137. Interviewee no. 43. 138. Interviewee no. 21. 139. Interviewee no. 24. 140. Interviewee no. 47, male, middle-aged, Kurdish, Tepe.


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Agamben, Giorgio, 12 Alevi, 65, 154, 156, 165, 166 Anti-Terror Law, 82 – 3, 200 apparatus, penal/security, 5, 6, 10, 11, 23, 37, 39, 41, 42, 46, 49, 203, 205, 206, 213 Asad, Talal, 79 – 80 Aslan, S¸u¨kru¨, 62 Asumah, Seth Nii, 39 authoritarianism, 11 – 12, 22, 48, 207 Bahar, Halil I˙., 58 –9 banlieu, 44, 66 Bartu, Ayfer-Candan, 74 Baydar, Oya, 66 Benjamin, Walter, 12, 79, 189 Berksoy, Biriz, 81 – 2, 85 bonus, 123, 140, 147, 149, 187, 211 bonus system, see Point Performance System Braithwaite, John, 38 Brewer, John D., 43 broken windows theory, 129– 30 Brown, Elizabeth, 46 Brown, Mark, 31 Buffington, Robert M., 30 Bunyan, Tony, 44

Caldeira, Teresa, 39, 163, 164 C¸apkın, Hu¨seyin, 3, 104– 8, 113, 151–2, 131, 141, 152, 174, 239n1 Cassesse, Antonio, 39 CCTV, 116, 117, 120 See also MOBESE, surveillance cameras Cerrah, Celalettin, 69, 94, 96 Cerrah, I˙brahim, 76, 101 citizens, 97 – 101, 103, 109, 110–11, 117, 123, 126– 8, 134, 138, 140, 150, 162– 3 letters, 123 non-, 47 ‘respectable’, 4, 5, 20 – 1, 109, 138, 139, 149, 152, 174, 194, 207, 209 second-class, 194 citizenship, 30, 31, 52, 98 city, inner, 42 – 3, 63, 66 class, 7, 21, 27 , 30, 35, 49, 51, 134, 153, 165, 177 capitalist, 8, 11, 28, 32 criminal, 96 dangerous, 5, 28, 29, 45, 46, 67, 75, 208 labouring, 72, 161, 205, 208 lower, 31, 39, 47



‘lumpen’, 30, 45, see also lumpenproletariat middle, 15, 46, 57, 64, 72, 73, 105, 109, 141, 152, 160– 1, 165, 174, 203, 210 struggle, 11 – 12, 27, 29, 30 wealthy, 74 See also working class Clinnard, Marshall, 40 Cohen, Stanley, 54 Coleman, Roy, 49 Comaroff, Jean, 59, 68 Comaroff, John L., 59, 68 control, spatial, 46, 117, 134, 136, 148, 180– 3 corruption, 20, 79, 84, 85, 92, 97, 99, 102, 111, 112, 171, 172, 173, 197 coup d’e´tat, see military coup crime, 10, 18, 28, 30, 32, 33, 40 – 1, 61 – 2, 67, 70, 72 –3, 83, 87, 101, 108, 112, 117, 119, 121, 140, 150, 172– 3, 187, 189, 197 common, 4, 6, 24, 34, 47, 63 – 4, 99, 104, 106– 7, 111, 113, 126, 139, 198, 200, 211 control, 24, 38, 46, 74– 5 discourses, see discourse fear of, 20, 49, 73 – 4, 150, 161, 208 fight against, 4, 17, 20, 95, 97 – 100, 107, 113, 126, 148, 177, 193, 206, 208, 210, see also ‘war on crime’ grading of, 122– 3 as ideology, 2, 4, 19, 20, 31, 34, 42, 49, 65, 76, 149, 209 and Kurds, 166– 71, 199– 206, 212 moral panic about, 19, 52 –5, 59, 75, 77 –9, 97– 8, 102, 105, 153, 162– 4, 209 organized, 63, 71, 92 political, 63, 134, 196, 198 political nature of, 34 –5 politics of, 6, 7, 16, 19, 22, 23 – 4, 46 –7, 49, 52, 210

prevention, 26, 27, 96, 110, 118, 127– 36, 149, 177, 184, 196 professionals, 17, 51 public order, 99 rates, 2, 20, 52, 55, 57– 9, 94, 96, 115 as socio-political relation, 2 – 3, 7, 8, 31, 209 state, 90 talk, 51, 163– 5 ‘tough on’, 42, see also ‘war on crime’, zero-tolerance urban, 3, 20, 48, 50, 58, 61, 63, 68, 94 – 5, 148, 206 See also criminalization, kapkac criminal, 6, 15, 22, 27, 30 – 4, 43, 46, 51– 3, 59, 63, 67, 69, 71 – 2, 76, 79, 86 –7, 91, 94, 96 – 8, 106–7, 115, 118– 19, 123, 126, 132, 135, 139, 149– 50, 165, 170, 172– 4, 189–90, 196–7, 201–3, 207 –12 activities, 42, 63, 67, 70, 74, 110– 11, 121, 130, 140, 147, 171 behaviour, 129– 30 classes, 28 –9 culture of, 70, 166– 7 populations, 47, 128 potential, 169, 179 records, 61, 133, 136, 175, 177– 8, 186– 7, 191– 4 repeat, 134 spaces, 73, 117, 128, 176, 183 subjects, 19, 21, 72 threat, 39, 41, 162 violence against, 99, 103, 152 criminalization, 2, 7, 8, 15 –16, 18, 21, 30– 1, 42, 46, 48, 50, 67, 136, 161, 189, 193– 5, 197– 201, 210 ethno-racial minorities 4, 42, 44 of Kurds, 154, 212 of migrants, 52, 60, 64 – 6 policing and, 4, 6, 7, 35, 39, 49, 153, 161 of shantytowns, 161, 175– 84, 186

INDEX of students, 110 of surplus populations, 39 of target populations, 132, 152 through law, 29 of urban poor, 3, 4, 6, 44, 49, 52, 67, 149 criminology, 6, 30, 60, 123 as administrative task, 52 Chicago school of, 129 ecological, 71, 129 De Giorgi, Alessandro, 39 deep state, see ‘state-within-the-state’ democratization, 20, 87, 90, 91, 93, 98, 100, 102, 103, 206, 207, 208, 210, 101 depoliticization, 21, 42, 193, 197– 8, 200 Derrida, Jacques, 79 deviance, see crime digging, as police strategy, 132– 4, 147, 149, 211 target populations and, 136, 140 discipline, 7, 28, 29, 31, 33, 39, 63, 80, 139, 188 discourse, 20, 50 – 2, 66, 93, 175 crime, 3, 15, 19, 20, 33, 42, 52, 55, 58 – 60, 71, 73, 75 – 9, 97, 98, 112, 150, 152, 153, 162– 4, 207– 9 criminalizing, 30, 52, 60, 208 criminological, 59, 64, 149 ‘law and order’, 41 marginalizing, 2 ‘peace and security’, 81 police, 3, 99, 173, 210 racializing, 42, 168 discrimination, 65, 184 disorder, 3, 4, 20, 31, 41 – 2, 48, 111, 129, 210 demographical, 50 elimination of, 26 urban, 59, 70, 130


dissidence, political, 12, 24, 43, 63, 81, 83, 207 ECtHR, 90 – 1 Ege-Koop, 74 enemy, internal, 5, 10, 90, 93, 99 Engels, Frederic, 32 EM-REMO, 81 – 2 ethnicity, see race European Union, 10, 20, 90 –1, 93, 100, 102, 128, 173, 206 See also human rights extra-legality, 5, 12, 14, 79 – 81, 83, 87, 90, 95, 176, 189, 191– 3, 203 Fanon, Frantz, 34 favela, 48 Fert, I˙smail, 58 – 9 Flamm, Michael W., 45 Foucauldians, 6 –7, 23 – 4, 26 Foucault, Michel, 7, 25, 79, 117 Freund, William, 33 – 4 Gamble, Andrew, 37 Garland, David, 46, 52 GBT, 124, 133, 146, 175, 177 –9, 183–4, 187, 193 See also profiling gecekondu, 64 – 5, 67, 71, 74 -ization, 14, 154– 5, 159 See also banlieu, ghetto, favela ghetto, 42 – 5, 47, 66, 70, 128, 200 See also banlieu, favela, gecekondu, shantytown Giuliani, Rudy, 46, 77, 104, 130, 131 gladio, see ‘state-within-the-state’ GPS, 117– 20, 140 Hall, Stuart, 27, 42, 51, 75 Hancı, I˙. Hamit, 71 harassment, as police strategy, 140, 153, 176, 178, 184, 186 –8, 190, 193 sexual, 122, 125



of suspects, 4, 183 of target populations, 149 See also police Herbert, Steve, 46 Hobsbawn, Eric, 31 human rights, 16 – 17, 20, 87, 90 – 1, 95, 99, 101 abuses, 87, 89 – 90, 141– 2 commission, 87, 89 complaints, 21, 179 ‘damn’, 94 discourses, 90, 93, 94, 97, 102, 103, 210 law, 90 organizations, 87 – 8, 90 –2, 100, 120, 146 records, 20, 91, 152 See also ECtHR, IHD Hunt, Alan, 50 Huntington, Samuel P., 100 ideology, 9, 11, 13, 16, 20 – 1, 27, 30, 50 – 1, 102, 197 of crime, 42, 52, 77, 98 See also discourse IHD, 88, 90, 147 immigrants, see migrants imprisonment, 142, 192 I˙nanıcı, Halil, 133 incarceration, 1, 39, 46, 144 See also imprisonment, penalization, prison infrapolitics, 34 I˙s¸eri, Gu¨ls¸en, 182 I˙U¨CHKE, 60 JITEM, 14 justice, 91, 94, 99, 132, 172, 184– 5, 201 commission of, 96 criminal, 2, 11, 19, 23, 28, 47, 48 –9, 59, 60, 83, 90, 93, 98, 108, 184– 5, 189–93, 195 ministry, 147

palace, 1 rules of, 79 kapkac, 53 – 7, 68 –77, 94 – 5, 98, 105, 107–8, 122, 166–8, 172, 194, 198 See also mugging Keith, Michael, 43 Kelling, George, 129 Kolluog˘lu, Biray, 74 Kurds, 5, 10, 13 – 14, 55, 67 – 8, 146, 152, 162, 166– 70, 194, 197– 9, 202–3, 211 See also migrants law, 3, 7, 10, 12–13, 18, 24, 26–27, 30, 32, 69, 76, 79, 84, 92–6, 185, 212 authoritarian, 14 criminal, 122, 144 on criminal procedure (CMUK), 93 – 7, 99, 173 enforcement, see police misdemeanours, 114 Poor, 29 private security, 110 rule of, 101 Law, the, 12, 27, 87, 184, 207 ‘law and order’, 41 – 3, 46 leftist, groups and organizations, 62, 64, 86, 155– 6, 165, 182 movements, 8, 13 politics, 10, 86 writer, 66 Linebaugh, Peter, 30, 32 lumpenproletariat, 29 –30, 34, 42, 48, 201, 203, 211 See also class, working class marginalization, 14, 66, 72, 161 Martin, Patricia, 36 Martin, William G., 39 Marx, Karl, 29, 30 Marxists, 6, 7, 23, 26, 27

INDEX McArdle, Andrea, 130 McKay, Henry, 129 media, 19, 20, 42, 44, 51 – 4, 67, 57 –8, 65 – 70, 75, 96, 97, 105, 128, 137, 141, 151, 163, 182, 207– 8, 210 Melossi, Dario, 39, 142 migrants, 9, 19, 39, 44, 47, 55, 62 – 4, 67, 126, 154– 8, 163, 207 black, 42 criminalization of, 60 – 1, 65, 78, 162, 166, 208 culture of, 71 Kurdish, 4, 14 – 15, 20, 68, 75, 105, 152– 3, 162, 166–7, 199, 202–3, 210– 11 military coup, 5, 8, 10 – 13, 36, 60, 80, 87, 154 minorities, ethno-racial, 8, 42, 45 – 7, 72, 75, 78, 131 MOBESE, 117–18, 123 See also CCTV, surveillance cameras modernization, police, 81, 100– 1, 103, 126, 207, 209 mugging, 3, 27, 42, 121, 124, 163, 166– 7, 197 See also kapkac Nagel, Mechthild, 39 Neocleous, Mark, 26 – 8 neoliberal order, 4, 10, 49, 75, 205– 6 neoliberalism, and authoritarian state, 21, 36, 37 as political economic model, 5, 15 –16, 19, 35 – 7, 60, 72, 110, 162, 203, 205– 6, 209– 10 in Turkey, 7, 8, 16 New York City, 46, 57, 130– 1 news, on crime, 51, 54 – 5, 57– 8, 67, 77, 163 on Kurdish crime, 69, 70, 72 on police, 97, 107– 8, 117, 151 NYPD, 45, 130– 1


OHAL, 13 –14, 81 –2 O¨ner, Sıtkı, 84 O¨zdemir, Semahat, 156, 158 Parenti, Christian, 43, 45, 51 Pasquino, Pasquale, 24 Peck, Jamie, 37 penalization, 38, 39, 49, 195, 200 performance, police, 4, 101, 120– 3, 132, 134, 147, 183, 187, 190, 192, 207, 211 See also bonus, Point Performance System perspective from below, 4, 18, 152, 210 Pervis, Trevor, 50 Pis¸kinsu¨t, Sema, 95 PKK, 13, 81, 139 Point Performance System, 122, 140, 207 See also bonus police, abuse, 18, 79, 87, 89, 99, 184 as a concept, 24 – 7 corruption, 20, 79, 84 – 5, 92, 97, 99, 102, 111– 12, 171– 3, 197 law and, 24 – 7, 79, 81 – 4, 90, 93 – 6, 173– 4, 189 legitimacy of, 20, 22, 48, 78, 81, 92, 98, 101– 3, 109, 113, 139, 150, 153, 174, 189, 210 militarization of, 43, 81 – 3, 86; paramilitary, 38, 45, 82 patrol teams, 82, 105, 107, 109– 20, 122, 128, 134, 140, 142, 166, 174– 83, 187, 193 –4 equipment and technology, 43, 82, 95, 112–13, 115–16, 119, 133 power, 5, 140, 149 science of, 24 – 5 state, 25, 78, 99 stations, 57, 87, 111 –16, 123, 146, 173, 194



strategies, 6, 20 –1, 26, 38, 43, 45, 100, 105– 6, 123, 126– 32, 148, 153– 4, 174, 177, 183, 193, 203, 207– 8 police officers, control and management of, 99, 101, 120– 1, 140 policing, aggressive, 6, 21, 43, 45, 47, 127, 132, 174, 176– 7, 184, 194, 207 common crimes, 2, 6, 7, 16, 19, 23 –4, 47, 104, 107, 123, 126, 129, 154, 207 and criminalization, 4, 6, 7, 15, 35, 39, 49, 152– 3, 189, 208 community, 102 Kurds, 171, 202– 3 paramilitary, 45 political dissidence, 10, 12, 24 poor, the, 6, 28, 46 practices, 17, 18, 21, 109, 114, 120, 153, 180, 182, 191, 193, 195, 202, 211 private, 110 proactive/preventive, 4, 21, 128– 9, 140, 149, 184, 189, 194 of problem populations, 49, 176 public order, 3, 20, 104, 109, 111, 113, 115, 152– 3, 187, 193, 200, 202, 209 race and, 47 shantytowns, 161, 175– 84, 186 technologies, 43, 86 undercover, 106 urban, 22, 111, 117 political crime, 22, 198, 199 See also crime populations, 117 criminal, 128 criminalized, 46 dangerous, 15, 20, 31, 60, 65, 66, 67, 75, 199, 207

Kurdish, 67, 170, 210 labouring, 5, 60, see also working class prison, 46 target, 21, 104, 132– 42, 146– 9, 152, 174, 175 –7, 180, 183–4, 188– 9, 194, 207, 210 urban poor, 3 Poulantzas, Nicholas, 26 prison, 1, 3, 10, 25, 32, 38 – 9, 46 – 8, 77, 80, 89 – 90, 110, 131, 136, 151, 169, 176, 185, 187, 192, 194, 195, 196, 197, 200– 1, 211, 212 F-type, 83, 182, 202 populations, 1, 48 system, 27 See also imprisonment prison-industrial-complex, 48 profiling, criminal, 108, 123, 128, 129, 149 racial, 4, 130– 1, 177 target populations, 127, 132, 136– 7, 148, 177, 183 proletarianization, 60 – 1 quality of life, 73, 130– 1 race, 30, 165 See also minorities, ethno-racial ‘race apart’, 30, 40, 42 racialization, 15, 21, 30, 40, 170 regulation, 37, 49, 72, 214 assemblege, 7 mechanisms, 61 mode of, 27, 37, 142, 208 neoliberal, 35 penal, 35, 41 of populations, 24, 28, 38, 154, 203 social, 21 of urban poor, 6, 7, 28 – 9, 35, 41, 205 Rejali, Darius M., 80

INDEX resisting police authority, 142– 7, 176, 183– 7, 194 riots, 20, 43 urban, 44 – 5, 72 Roma, 4, 72, 77, 152 Salvatore, Ricardo D., 52 Sarac og˘lu, Cenk, 15, 162 Savran, Sungur, 11 security, 2– 3, 5, 15, 20, 22, 26, 34, 39, 46, 49, 61, 73 – 4, 77, 81, 86, 98, 104, 110, 113– 14, 127, 136, 158, 161, 200– 1 apparatus, 5, 90, 100, 171, 197, 203, 205, 208, 211– 13 border, 48 forces, 70, 81, 83, 86, 112, 163, 165, 173, 182, 202 General Directorate of, 17, 56, 81, 95, 112, 127 national, 55, 81, 202 networks, 117 personal, 28 personnel, 2, 83, 87, 109, 110 private, 2, 48, 74, 110, 158 response, 3 state, 12, 14, 80, 81 Shaw, Clifford, 129 slum, see banlieu, favela, gecekondu, ghetto social unrest, 6, 13, 41 –4, 61, 75, 82 See also riots Special Operations Unit, 82, 92 Spitzer, Steven, 28 state, authoritarian, 10, 36, 206 Brazilian, 48 capitalist, 28 developmentalist, 13 formation, 23, 36, 206, 211–12 Mexican, 36 national security, 5, 12, 14, 80, 81 neoliberal, 37, 49, 211– 12 organs of, 35


penal/secuity, 3, 5, 6, 23 29, 38, 39, 41 – 3, 46, 48, 194, 205, 206, 208, 211 –13 in Turkey, 10, 13, 84, 206, 212 violence, 4, 5, 21 – 2, 34, 36, 62, 87, 90 – 1, 154, 162, 197, 200–1, 205– 6, 210 welfare, 5, 6, 26, 28, 29, 36, 37, 38, 42, 44, 52 state, penal/security, 3, 5, 6, 23 29, 38, 39, 41 –3, 46, 48, 194, 205– 6, 208, 211– 13 ‘state-within-the-state’, 12, 13, 74, 92, 235n21 Strange, Carol, 80 student movements, 10 See also dissidence, political subjection, 7, 212 Sudbury, Julia, 39 surveillance, 7, 38, 46, 109, 115, 131, 149, 176, 177, 180, 183, 193, 197, 205, 212 cameras, 117, 120, 123, 130, 134, see also CCTV, MOBESE SWAT, 43 penalization, 38 – 9, 49, 195, 200 professionalization, police, 17, 21, 100, 101, 103, 190– 1, 207–8 statistics, crime, 57 – 9, 95, 96, 107– 8, 132 torture, 89, 147 Temelkuran, Ece, 182 terror, 45, 54 – 5, 68, 75, 83, 96 –8, 170, 171, 196, 199, 202– 3, 211 police, 140 subdivision, 123 suspect, 121– 2, 124 terrorism, 68, 83 state, 10 terrorist, 15, 69, 70, 86, 90 – 1, 94 , 99, 170, 211



organization, 201 Tickell, Adam, 37 torture, 10, 14, 79 – 80, 87 – 90, 91, 95, 99, 100, 102, 138, 141, 146, 147, 188, 192, 193, 199 Turkish National Police (TNP), 16, 20, 57 underclass, 38 – 41, 200 unemployment, 8, 41, 44, 63, 105, 157, 159, 161, 167, 171, 202, 206, 251 urban poor, 4 criminalization and, 19, 20, 35 – 8, 42 –6, 48– 9, 52, 55, 60, 65 – 8, 75, 78, 130, 149, 162, 204, 207 as dangerous populations, 3, 15 economy and, 5, 15, 42, 60, 209 penalization, 39, 208 profiling, 148 regulation of, 6 –7, 47, 208 urban transformation, 61, 72 –4, 154, 160 urbanism, neoliberal, 72, 159, 161, 210 urbanization, 60 – 1, 71, 154 use of force, 90, 96, 98, 99, 117, 126, 136– 8, 140– 2, 145– 6, 152, 204– 5 Uysal, Ays¸en, 86 vagrants, 28, 29, 31 acts on, 29, 130 Van Swaanigen, Rene´, 39 varos¸, 65 – 7, 71 – 3, 75, 169, 208 violence, and crime, 42, 49, 53, 56, 66, 78, 163– 4, 170, 207 extra-legal, 36 and Kurdish populations, 13 –14, 68, 167, 171, 186, 197, 199, 201– 2, 210 legal, 36, 79 meaningless/senseless, 33, 45

police, 43 – 5, 48, 79, 86, 92, 99, 111, 131, 140, 145, 176, 182, 183, 186, 189, 193, 204 popular, 34 sanctioned and unsanctioned, 79 – 80, 99 and social movements, 41 structural, 8, 12, 34, 44, 65, 76, 211 on target populations, 146, 152, 207 and underclass, 40 and video games, 69 Wacquant, Loic, 18, 39, 47 – 8, 200 ‘war on crime’, 43, 49 See also quality of life, zero-tolerance ‘war on drugs’, 43, 46 ‘war on terror’, 5, 25, 67, 75, 82, 87, 92 See also Anti-Terror Law Western, Bruce, 46 Wilson, James Q., 129 working class, 5 – 6, 8 –9, 11, 13– 14, 28– 33, 35, 38, 42, 60, 64 – 7, 75, 80, 82, 155, 159, 160– 2 movements, 203, 206, 211 See also class, underclass, urban poor Yonucu, Deniz, 67 youth, Kurdish, 21 – 2, 67, 68, 145, 182, 198 criminalization of, 154, 167, 194, 199, 201– 3 depoliticization of, 21, 193– 7, 198 policing, 177, 179– 80, 188, 194, 196, 203 as problem populations, 161, 170 Zaluar, Alba, 39 zero-tolerance, in Izmir, 127, 132 policies, 46, 77, 177 policing, 45, 127, 129– 31, 183, 189, 193, 194, 210 in the US, 129– 31

‘ What Zeynep Gönen provides in this compact work is a critical look into the motivations, practices and outcomes of policing in contemporary Turkey. She does so with a strong grasp of the contemporary theories and critiques that have helped shape law enforcement in modern global cities.’

William G. Martin, Professor, Sociology Department, Binghamton University During the 2013 Gezi Park Uprisings, the role and behaviour of the Turkish police made headlines across the world. This book focuses on urban crime and policing in Turkey since the steady economic decline of the 1990s. Concentrating on the attempts to ‘modernize’ the policing of Izmir, Zeynep Gönen highlights how the police force expanded their territorial control over the urban space, specifically targeting the poor and racialized segments of the city. Through in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations of these ‘targeted’ populations, as well as rare ethnographic data from the Turkish police, Gönen shows how Kurdish migrants have been criminalized as dangerous ‘enemies’ of the order. In studying the ideological and material processes of criminalization, The Politics of Crime in Turkey makes the case for the neoliberal politics of crime that uses the notion of ‘security’ to legitimize violence and authoritarianism. The book will be of interest to criminologists, as well as those investigating the modern Turkish state and its relationship to the Kurds in the wider region. Zeynep Gönen is an independent researcher, having worked as a lecturer in universities in Turkey and the US. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Binghamton University, New York, where her thesis received two awards. Her work has been published in the journals Critical Criminology and Praksis, and she currently works as an editor at Izmir Mediterranean Academy. Cover image: Turkish riot police at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, 11th June 2013, © epa european pressphoto agency b.v. / Alamy Stock Photo Cover designer: Sandra Friesen

The Politics of Crime in Turkey

‘ The Politics of Crime in Turkey is a remarkable achievement: while focused on innovations in Turkey, it illuminates with considerable skill and subtlety the new forms of neoliberal policing that are rapidly spreading around the world.’

Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor

Ryan Gingeras, Associate Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School

Zeynep Gönen

The Politics of Crime in Turkey Neoliberalism, Police and the Urban Poor Zeynep Gönen