Tuesday, February 06, 2007

organize sanayi

today, a paper reported 1000 eucalyptus trees were cut down in iskenderun to make room for an "organize sanayi bölgesi or an organized industrial zone".

now that term, in itself is a key to its own impossibility. it assumes that outside such a zone, "industry" is, by definition, unorganized!

as a matter of fact, when turkey is in question, it is!

i told you before that 65 percent of the population (45 out of 70 million) live in an area that covers about only seven percent of turkey. this triangle is the most developed, urbanized, industrialized etc. region in the country. since, in normal terms, industry implies production for the market and is therefore a rational enterprise, one expects this to be also a highly organized region. all right then, let us run a cursory analysis:

* the auto industry is centered in and around bursa, together with metal industries, textyles, food and so on. bursa used to be one of turkey's primary, intensive, high yield agriculture zones. now the fertile fields are spattered by thousands of "factories" the best of which supply the big auto manufacturers. there is no railroad access to bursa. therefore, instead of shipping thousand or more cars in a single party by train whether for export or home consummption, the hundreds of cars produced are loaded on trucks by dozens at most, and begin cluttering the already congested highways even before they start to roll.
air in bursa is barely breathable. there has been no study conducted yet but it is safe to assume that pollution from the industry has contaminated the agrarian yield as well. most rivers that cross the area are, anyway.

* adapazarı is catching up with bursa. this is also a fertile agricultural zone that is already half laid to industrial waste. i realize the comparative advantage but have difficulty in understanding why it is so hard to plan a combination of the two. adapazarı was a late comer into the boom, well after the need for urban and regional planning had become obvious. but the main motive for its development was abundance of cheap space to build factories - some of which got their land from the government for free. so much for planning, planned development, organization etc. - at least the train station is nearby.

* the izmit - çorlu (thrace) line is the rhineland of turkish industrialization. although the former developed together with its own sensibility to its physical and social environment, the only reason the turkish counterpart prospered is proximity to istanbul. in the beginning, all capital concentrated in istanbul and was invested as geographically close by as possible. there was a human capital accumulation, too. technical infrastructure was the best in turkey, though nevertheless pathetic: suffice to say that in the 60's, thousands of migrants met their death on the ankara-istanbul road, opening the way for the grand anatolian exodus.
there is no need to extrapolate on the current plight of the izmit-çorlu trail. istanbul's perennial traffic mess is symptomatic enough for the lethality of the disease called disorganization.

* last, izmir... still the third largest city in the country, though badly dwindling. it lost its primacy as an alternative industrial center during özal's crusade against local capital in favor of big money in the 80's and 90's. in spite of that, izmir is a dumping ground for thousands of small scale, labor intense, possibly nonproductive, inefficient, polluting industries and a land development craze that surround the town, devour its greenery, conquer its hilltops and cut its breath off. a total lost cause. an iresuscitatable corpse of a city.

thus, even a cursory glance reveals why an ignominy like "organized industrial zone" may be a viable cocept in turkish.

by the way, for the unititated, let me remind that an organized industrial zone is, in fact, a designated area where blocks of rows of not-really-so-large shops or workshops dealing with mechanical and metallic manufacture and repairs; especially, auto repairs, so that the word "sanayi" (industry) has come to mean a conglomeration of car repair shops.

unless all readers have had the good fortune to take their vehicles to a mechanic in a sanayi, allow me to describe them as the muddiest, worst paved, hottest or coldest (depending on season), dirtiest place in whatever town they may be gracing. the traffic in a sanayi is inevitably abominable, with not just cars but also their gutted carcasses strewn along main arteries, trucks unloading heavy metals and machinery on the roads pockmarked by grave size potholes etc.

indeed, an organized industrial zone in turkey is anything, maybe even industrial, too, but alas, never organized.

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