Deportation as an Urban Stray Dogs Management Policy: Forest Dogs of Istanbul

  • Ayten Alkan Istanbul University, Faculty of Political Science, 34116 Beyazit - Istanbul
Keywords: Animal Welfare, Urban Stray Dogs Policy, Forest Dogs, Deportation, Concentration Camps


The modern city, differing from other human settlements, moreover from all other habitats, is wholly organized in order to response to only one species’ -homo sapiens’- needs and desires. This exceptional habitat has also been a socio-spatial organization (re)stabilizing upon mechanisms of discipline, order, inclusion / exclusion, and clearance. The safety and security polity of the modern city, which serves to its imagined, conceived and desired - yet formal and shallow - sterility, dispatches systematically the excommunicated to the margins and / or to camps. Other animals are obviously the most invisible, most disposable and marginalized, and most silenced subjects of those mechanisms. This paper deals with one of those disposable subjects, stray dogs, in the context of a relatively new exclusion / clearance policy of urban municipalities in İstanbul -that is deportation and dumping of stray dogs to the surrounding forests. Considering the more recent local governmental projects to establish huge “concentration camps” at the outskirts of the metropolitan area, the study consequently tries to reexamine this policy of deportation as an undeclared provisional practice for an ultimate total displacement, relocation, and absolute insulation of stray animals.

Author Biography

Ayten Alkan, Istanbul University, Faculty of Political Science, 34116 Beyazit - Istanbul
Associate Professor


Agamben, G. (1997) The camp as nomos of the modern. In: de Vries, H. & Weber, S. (eds.) Violence, Identity and Self-Determination (Stanford: Stanford UP).
Alkan, A. (2015) New Metropolitan Regime of Turkey: Authoritarian Urbanization via (Local) Governmental Restructuring, Lex Localis - Journal of Local Self-Government 13(3), pp. 849-877.
Altıntaş, E. B.(2010) Dogs in İstanbul’s forests: How compassion eludes city officials, available at (December 8, 2015).
Altıntaş, E. B. (2011) Activists appeal to mayor to stop practice of dog-dumping, available at (December 8, 2015).
Amicis, E. (1896) Constantinople. tr. by M. Horitar Lonsdale (New York & London: Merrill & Barer).
Akçaoğlu, H. (1997) Karabaşname-i İstanbul, Tombak, 16, pp. 22-32.
Avédikian, S. (2010) Hayırsız Ada (Chienne d'Histoire) – Animation Documentary. La Fabrique Production & Anadolu Kültür – Turkey, available at: (September 1, 2015).
Bauman, Z. (2004) Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts (Cambridge: Polity Press).
Boitani, L., Ciucci, P. & Ortolani, A. (2007) Behaviour and social ecology of free-ranging dogs, In: Jensen, P. (ed.) The Behavioural Biology of Dog.(Cambridge, MA: CAB International), pp. 147-165.
Boyko, A. R., Boyko, R. H., Boyko, C. M., Parker, H. G., Castelhano, M., Corey, L., Degenhart, J. D., Auton, A., Hedimbi, M., Kityo, R., Ostrander, E. A., Schoenebeck, J., Todhunter, R. J., Jones, P., Bustamante, C. D. (2009) Complex population structure in African Village Dogs and its implications for inferring dog domestication history, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, 106(33), pp. 13903–13908.
Candeleria, M. (2009) The microgeography of infestation in relationship spaces, In: McFarland S. E. & Hediger, R. (eds.) Animals and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Exploration (Leiden & Boston: Brill).
CoE (1987) European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. Treaty no 125, available at (December 13, 2015).
Coppinger, R. & Coppinger, L. (2001) Dogs: a Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution (New York: Scribner).
Çubukçu, B. (2015) Ormanın aç çocukları, Al-Jazeera Turk, available at: (September 14, 2015).
Derr, M. (2013) How the Dog Became the Dog: From Wolves to Our Best Friends (New York: The Overlook Press).
Diehn, S. A. (2011) Not just for the dogs: Strays problem is also human rights issue, available at (December 8, 2015).
Durukan, M. Y. (2009) Kuduz hâlâ tepemizde, available at: (September 15, 2015).
Emeksiz, İ. (2010) Animal activists struggle to solve Turkey's street dog problem, available at (December 25, 2015).
Ersoy, K. M. (2015, 22nd Dec.) Kısırkaya tecrit merkezi resmi olarak açılıyor. Gaia Dergi, available at: (Januar 6, 2016).
ESDAW (2011) Turkey massacre - the Hasdal scandal, available at (December 25, 2015).
Felix, A. (2015) Many many many street dogs, available at: (January 6, 2016).
Gillet-McClatchy, K. (2013, 10th Sept.) Child killed by dogs in Bucharest leads to tough new law on strays, available at (december 8, 2015).
Gündoğdu, C. (2003) Doksan Yıl Önce İstanbullu Hayvanseverler. Toplumsal Tarih Dergisi, 116, pp. 10-17.
Hammond-Seaman, A. (2011) Stray dogs in Europe - Problems and solutions (Belgrade: TAIEX).
Haraway, D. J. (2003) The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press).
Hür, A. (2008) İstanbul’un Kıdemli Sakinleri: Sokak Köpekleri (Birgün Gazetesi).
Irvin, L. (2012) My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and Their Animals (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers).
Karşı Gazete (2015) Sarıyer hayvan barınağında katliam!, available at (December 20, 2015).
Keim. B. (2013) How City Living Is Reshaping the Brains and Behavior of Urban Animals, available at:, September 1, 2015).
Kremida, D. & Songün, S. (2008) Volunteers find dogs poisoned in Sariyer, available at (December 25, 2015).
McKinney, M. (2002) Urbanization, Biodiversity and Conservation. BioScience. 52, pp. 883-890.
McKinney, M. (2008) Effects of Urbanization on Species Richness – A Review of Plants and Animals. Urban Ecosystems 11, pp. 161-176.
Melikoğlu, B. (2009) Türkiye’de kurulan ilk hayvanları koruma koruma derneğinin tarihsel gelişimi, Veteriner Hekimleri Derneği Dergisi, 80(1), pp. 37-44.
Menteş Gürler, A. & Osmanağaoğlu, Ş. (2009) Türkiye’de Hayvanları Koruma Kanununun Tarihsel Gelişimi, Kafkas Üniversitesi Veteriner Fakültesi Dergisi, 15(3), pp. 325-330.
Neto, D. (2015) The New “Vision Project” revealed: Kısırkaya Animal Compound, available at: (September 15, 2015).
Ocak, S. (2012) 1 köpeğe 100 metrekare alan düşecek, available at (December 8, 2015).
Onay, A. (2012) Barınaklar Birer Hayırsızada, Biamag, available at: (January 6, 2016).
Özgüner, B. (2015) Kısırkaya "Hayvan Hapishanesi", BiaMag Cumartes, available at:, (September 25, 2015).
Park, R. (1967) On Social Control and Collective Behavior (Chicago: Chicago University Press).
Picq, P., Digard, J. P., Cyrulnik, B. & Matignon, K. L. (2000) La Plus Belle Histoire des Animaux (Paris: Editions du Seuil).
Pinguet, C. (2008) Les Chiens d'Istanbul (Saint-Pourçainsur-Sioule: Bleu Autour).
Piper, R. (2009) Extinct Animals: An Encyclopedia of Species That Have Disappeared during Human History (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press).
PRB (Population Reference Bureau) (2015) Human Population: Urbanization, available at: (September 9, 2015).
Remlinger, P. (1932) Les chiens de Constantinople, leur vie, leur mort, Mercure de France, 817(43e -237), pp. 24-70.
Rubeyi, F. & Graham R. (2015) Dogs of the Dream Forest: A documentary on the forgotten dogs of Turkey, available at (December 8, 2015).
Sarıkuş, E. (2010) Sesim Rüzgara: Modern Bir Sürgün Hikayesi (Wind, Carry My Voice A Modern Story of Exile) – Documentary, available at: (September 1, 2015).
Schick, I. C. (August 2010) İstanbul’da 1910’da Gerçekleşen Büyük Köpek İtlâfı: Bir Mekân Üzerinde Çekişme Vakası, Toplumsal Tarih, 200, pp 22–33.
Timur, T. (1994) Köpekler, Dünden Bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi, 5, p. 89.
Topuzlu, C. (1982) İstibdat, Meşrutiyet, Cumhuriyet Devirlerinde 80 Yıllık Hatıralarım. (2nd. Ed.) (İstanbul: Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Yayınları).
Serpell, J. (1995) The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behaviour and Interactions with People (Cambridge University Press).
Tellier, L. N. (2011) Urban World History: An Economic and Geographical Perspective, Journal of Regional Science, 51(2), 404-405.
UN-DESA (2014) World Urbanization Prospects (New York: UN).
Üzüm, İ. (2011) Animal activists call for stringent animal cruelty laws, Sunday’s Zaman, available at: (October 5, 2015).
Vaughan, C. (2011) Turkish animal welfare bill – is it working?, available at (December 24, 2015).
Winter, S. (2015) Nation of animal lovers? UK's shame as 50,000 pet dogs dumped in one year, available at (December 26, 2015).
Withnall, A. (2014) Haunting images lay bare Britain’s ‘invisible’ stray dog problem, available at (December 26, 2015).
Yeryüzüne Özgürlük (2015) Kısırkaya Animal 'Shelter' in Istanbul: The Final Step for a Hidden Agenda of Eradicating Street Animals from the Streets, available at: (September 15, 2015).
Yıldırım, M. (2015) Türkiye’de tecrit ve soykırımın yeni mekanları: Hayvan barınakları, available at: (January 15, 2016).
Zeybek, S. O. (2014) İstanbul’un yuttukları ve kustukları: Köpekler ve nesneler üzerinden İstanbul tahlili. In: Candan, A. B. & Özbay, C. (eds.) Yeni Istanbul Çalışmaları: Sınırlar, Mücadeleler, Açılımlar (İstanbul: Metis), pp. 263-282.

Conference Paper