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Cultural differencesin the use of public spaces: a case study on coastal park in Mersin

Pişkin, Nazeli
Mersin that was established as a port city in the mid 19th century, has been part of a commercial network that has led to economic, demographic and cultural interactions with Eastern Mediterranean countries. The multicultural structure of the city, which was the result of these interactions, has been preserved even though its content has changed due to different historical circumstances. Today, Kurdish and Alevi populations who migrated from the South-Eastern Anatolia in the 1990s, and Syrian Migrants forced to leave their country due to the Syrian Civil War that started in 2011 are important minority groups within the multicultural structure of the city today. It is observed that there are differences in the use of public spaces of the city between cultural groups, which lead to discontent among different groups in the city. Based on this observation, the thesis aims to evaluate the effects of the culture on the use of public spaces. The coastline of Mersin has been chosen as the case study area. For this purpose, interviews have been conducted with local people, internal immigrants and Syrian Migrants on the coastline, which is a frequently used public space in the city. At the same time, the observations have been deepened. The findings of the case study illustrate that the reason for the differences observed in the practices is not only related to the cultural differences, but they are related with the different tactics developed by the immigrants to adapt to their new environment. As a result of the thesis, it has been shown that migrants develop different ways of adaptation to their new environment which reflects on their use of public spaces.