Izmir seems to be the clear opposite of Istanbul. On Friday, March 6th, we witness a very interesting construction process, the wall of women victims of violence. We were there participating the demonstration, learning about women’s rights, and even contributing to the construction of that short and powerful wall. We luckily shook hands with the woman mayor of Konak, Sema Pekdas. She was an activist on women’s issues and now still advocating passionately for the gender equality. Later on, we met with the Izmir Metropolitan Municipal Mayor, Aziz Kocaoglu. We were lucky enough to have a conversation with him.
Personally, I enjoy being at the city of Izmir. There was blue sky, blue sea, and clean air. We went out almost every night when we were in Izmir. Drinking did not seem to be much of a taboo there. We certainly had much fun. Media was at the construction of women victims’ wall too. So far, I have not heard much opposition of that event. When I was at the meeting with the mayor, I asked him the question: what kind of city image do you want to create for Izmir and how do you want to convey this image. His emphasis was on creating Izmir as a livable city. Sustainability and environment are also major focuses. When answering the latter part of the question, he talked about his trip for applying for world expo and how he worked with the media to create this positive image for Izmir. The rather harmonious relationship between government and the media is surprising and interesting. I believe Izmir is a good example to be compared with in my research.