The Politics of Rapid Urbanization: Government and Growth in Modern Turkey

The Politics of Rapid Urbanization: Government and Growth in Modern Turkey

The Politics of Rapid Urbanization: Government and Growth in Modern Turkey

The Politics of Rapid Urbanization: Government and Growth in Modern Turkey

Excerpt

Fabled Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia at one of history's critical crossroads, spreads inexorably along both sides of the Bosphorus. Over four million people live in the great metropolis that spills far beyond the walls of ancient Constantinople. Once the capital of Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is the commercial, industrial, and intellectual capital of modern Turkey. Three hundred miles to the east is Ankara, the Anatolian town that Kemal Ataturk made the capital of the new Turkish republic in 1923. Cockpit of a highly centralized political system, Ankara has experienced dizzying growth. Two and a half million people crowd a city whose designers expected only 300,000. Almost two-thirds of Ankara's residents are squatters, part of the flood of migrants from the impoverished countryside that poured into Turkey's cities over the past third of a century.

Turkey, like so many other nations in the twentieth century, has been transformed by rapid urbanization. As is the case everywhere, urbanization in Turkey is an inherent component of the process of modernization. "Any systematic effort to transform traditional societies into modern societies," as Lucien W. Pye emphasizes, "must envisage the development of cities and modern urban societies."' Migration, the growth of urban economies, and rapid expansion of cities are integral features of the set of structural changes we call modernization. Urbanization, however, is not merely a synonym for modernization or industrialization. Instead, urbanization refers to a particular element of the development process— the concentration of population in relatively large settlements. Concen . . .

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