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Not Only Helpless but also Hopeless: Changing Dynamics of Urban Poverty in Turkey, the Case of Sultanbeyli, Istanbul

This paper is an attempt to understand the changing characteristics of urban poverty in Turkey since 1980. First, it analyses how the urban poor in Turkey had adopted aggressive survival strategies by strengthening their solidarity networks on religious, ethnic and cultural bases until the 2000s. Then it sheds light on how those networks have dissolved later on thanks to a set of internal and external factors and concludes that Turkey now faces deepening poverty levels and engendering new forms and dynamics of poverty. This paper is based on the Sultanbeyli district of Istanbul, a district almost entirely composed of unauthorized houses whose population grew at an unprecedented rate after 1980; and it is a perfect case for the study of issues relating to migration, urbanization and poverty in Turkish cities.