UrbanitAs: Urban Animals as Other City-dwellers, Turkey Edition, Updated

UrbanitAnimals. We live side by side. We call them pests, vermins, #mprracoon, pets, …

As a common human behaviour, we exterminate the ones we afraid of, and do everything to keep the ones we like around. The only thing we cannot do is to accept them as city-dwellers, just like us humans.

Here I present you UrbanitAs: The Other City Dwellers aka Urban Animals. This is a photo series formed by the photos I took at different times and in several cities. I believe we are too late to acknowledge that we are just another species dwelling here on this planet. But, perhaps realising that we live side by side with a bunch of others even in the most human-made environment (aka cities) may change our perspective.

This edition is dedicated to UrbanitAs living in Turkey, “my lonely and beautiful country”.

Gelibolu, 2018
Gelibolu, 2018
Gelibolu, 2018
Gelibolu, 2018
Lapseki, 2018
Dardanelles, 2018
Gelibolu, 2018
Gelibolu, 2018
Çanakkale, 2018
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Istanbul, Beyoglu, 2019
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Gelibolu, 2019
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Istanbul, Moda, 2019
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Gelibolu, 2019

 

 

 

Stories Behind: The Statue of Tombili and the Cats of Istanbul

Tombili was one of the many street cats in Istanbul. A statue was erected to honour her and this is the story behind it.

Cities in Turkey are famous with cats roaming free. Although the cats live o streets, it is hard to call them strays or feral cats. They co-habit with people for centuries. They are part of urban culture in Turkey. Recently an award-winning documentary on the lives of cats in Istanbul was in cinemas, as you may have seen it already.

Individuals, and sometimes municipalities, take care of the needs of these beloved neighbours by feeding them and taking care of their health issues. For winter times, some individuals, NGOs and municipalities locate cat houses on streets to help them to survive in colder days.

Tombili was a beloved cat citizen of Istanbul and roamed on her street for almost 10 years. She became an internet celebrity when his famous pose is posted on the net. Tombili means chubby in Turkish and she is called as Tombili by her fellow humans for obvious reasons. A statue was erected on her favourite spot for her memory after her death.

People loved her so much. She became a mascot for the street with her laid back lifestyle. After her death, people started a petition to honour her and collected more than 17000 signature, which let them erect the statue in October 2016. I am not quite sure if it is the only street cat statue in the world, but it took attention from the media all over the world.

 

 

Unfortunately, not everyone values the friendship between Tombili and fellow humans. The statue was stolen in November in the same year, almost within a month after its opening. It sparked an outrage. Social media outlets were flooded with anger from people condemning the culprits.

Kadikoy municipality, the council which erected the statue, twitted “It is stolen” with a crying cat emoji:

The thieves could not be indifferent to this massive outcry, and returned the statue to its place within a week. The statue is now on Ziverbey Street, Kadikoy, where it belongs. Tombili is still in her neighbours’ lives with this statue.

The Tombili statue on Ziverbey Street (Image Credit: Tombili Facebook Page)

And this is the story of Tombili and her legacy.

Tombili (Image Credit: Anadolu Kedisi / Huffington Post)

Advertisement-free Cities

What if we strip our towns from outdoor advertisements, which dominate public spaces for quite some time?

CATS – the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service did this for you in London and the result is marvellous.

It was funded via Kickstarter by almost 700 people who pledged over 23k GBP to get the project up and running, and as organizer James Turner noted in a blog, “This isn’t a clever marketing stunt. The people behind it are volunteers. We want to inspire people to think differently about the world and realize they have the power to change it.” (boredpanda)

 

Check it out:

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Image Credit: boredpanda

 

The result shows how much our public space is occupied by advertisements, and how they are commodified silently. It also shows potentials to use these spaces for public art (or other good causes, or just for feline world domination) instead of serving for more consumption.

Thanks CATS for making a point with our feline friends 🙂