Could an alternative housing development like the 1971 self-proclaimed Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen-Denmark be a possible answer to the Taksim-question?
On 4th of September 1971 some inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhood occupied the then empty barracks and took over the unused area of Christiania. The historical buildings and former military rampats in the area, which were established in 1617 by King Christian IV where used during several wars in Denmark and finally abandoned during 1967 and 1971. The occupation of the buildings was said to be a protest against the Danish government and the lack of affordable housing in Copenhagen.
The squatter-community in Copenhagen keeps incorporating the remaining constructions and many Danes respect Christiania as a successful social experiment. Despite problems due to open drug traffic until 2004 and use (mainly cannabis), the Freestate is regulated by some simple rules set down in the Christiania Law of 1989, which forbid hard drugs, stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests and bikers’ colors.
However, the government’s normalization plans and planned demolition of the historical, former military barracks in order to create new public space in the area –like in Taksim right now– led to a number of clashes and street battles in and around Christiania. And even more parallels can be drawn to the happenings in Istanbul. The Dens also built barricades in the street, the police used tear gas to remove the anarchistic, hippie commune from the area and a number of arrests were made.
However, several attempts by the police have been met by resistance and thus been unsuccessful so far. The fact that the police retreated from Christiania and that about 850 residents are able to realize their alternative lifestyle in the area gives reason for hope that there will be a reasonable ending in Taksim, what ever that may be.