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Reappropriating the “Green”: Islamist Environmentalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2015

Oğuz Erdur*
Department of Anthropology, Columbia University


Soon after coming to power in 1994, one of the first actions of the Islamist municipality in Istanbul was to paint the cobblestones around the municipal area green. The semiotics involved in this seemingly unimportant alteration from the usual yellow or white was immediately recognized by the media, which in turn drew the public's attention to the issue. The municipality was harshly criticized for marking out its territory with an Islamist symbol, i.e., the color green. The mayor, in return, responded by asserting that green was one of the colors that was legally designated for this particular purpose. Yet, instead of arguing further in terms of the lawfulness of this action and democratic rights involved in the administration of a municipality, he declared that the green cobblestones in fact symbolized the environmentalist aspect of the municipal policy.

Copyright © New Perspectives on Turkey 1997

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