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Inhabitants in Istanbul, en route to Dakar

The World Assembly of Inhabitants (WAI) is being prepared to stop over in Istanbul, incidentally during the European Social Forum, to root this proposition together to local organizations, give it a regional dimension, and strengthen the dialogue with social sectors that demand that the this crisis end through “another possible world.”

After the Urban Social Forum, which successfully launched the Call from Rio, several Unitary Promoter Committees of the WAI came together. So the moment has come for inhabitant organizations from Europe to contribute to this process.

As a city on the border between Asia and Europe, this is all the more important in Istanbul. It is the scene of resistances against evictions fixed by urban transformations resulting from speculations on land ownership and hitting working class areas.

For these reasons, IAI is supporting the Call launched by Istanbul’s social organizations and movements who recommend forming a common space to face the global crisis and housing with struggles and alternatives to the neo-liberal model.

At the same time, it underlines the importance of participating in all the initiatives organized in the domain of housing and the city with its local and European partners or by other organizations, offering this way a space to exchange experiences, share strategies, and build solidarity.

It is for these same reasons that an IAI group continues to build the “Inhabitants’ Memory,” which began at the Urban Social Forum in Rio, thanks to the creation of multimedia which includes video interviews of urban social leaders from Istanbul and other countries.



The initiative examines the gap between the governments’ responsibilities to respect the right to housing, commitments of the European Year against poverty, and the reality of violations that span the continent. It also proposes comparing the different international campaigns for the security of housing in order to understand their weaknesses, strengths, and how they compliment each other as tools for the right to the city. Finally, it launches the proposition of a Force of European Anti-Evictions Strike.

Koksal, Coordination for Housing Right, Turkey
Benoit Filippi, ACDL, RESEL, France
Clement Carine, IKD, Russian Fed.
Gabriele Zimmer, MPE GUE-NGL,Germany
Knut Unger, Reclaiming Spaces, Witten Tenants Association-Habitat Net, Germany
Annie Pourre, No-Vox
Christophe Driesbach, Jeudi Noir, France
Zsuzsi Pósfai, City is for All - Város Mindenkié, Hungary
Zodwa Nsibande, Abalhali, South Africa (pending)
Coordination: Cesare Ottolini, IAI

The Urban Social Forum approved the steps being made towards the World Assembly of Inhabitants (WSF Dakar, February 2011), with more than 350 organizations and international networks from 40 countries. The purpose of the stop over in Istanbul is reinforcing the establishment of National and European Unitary Promoter Committees, instituting an international platform of struggle and alternative, and defining coordination mechanisms to develop this democratic process.

Initiatives co-organized with GUE-NGL must be added here:

Thursday, July 1 (5:30 – 8:30pm) - School of Foreign Languages at Macka Campus of Istanbul Technical University - Room 14

The "European Year for Combating Poverty 2010" should not just remain a campaign to create acceptance for poverty within the EU. The "UN Year of Biodiversity" warns us that social progress can only happen when we combine it with ecological targets. The debate's focus in the workshop lies on the implementation of the right to decent housing and access to sufficient and green energy supply. In times of increasing poverty, decreasing energy sources, rising energy prices and an imperative to energy efficiency: What are the proposals of social and ecological initiatives, of global and European networks?

Friday, July 2 (9:30-12:30) - School of Foreign Languages at Macka Campus of Istanbul Technical University - Room 11

How do we get political action on a European level and in global solidarity in 2010 and beyond? The second workshop continues the debate that begins in the first workshop. Those discussing different initiatives report about their experiences in their current work and campaigns. MEP’s of the GUE/NGL and activists of social initiatives propose how different political actions can contribute to establish binding strategies and goals in the EU agenda for the fight against poverty and the protection of biodiversity.


The Volunteer translator for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who has collaborated on the translation of this text was:

Brooke Bates


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