Ever since the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul in the summer 2013, defending and reclaiming the city parks, market gardens, public squares, and urban forests has become a mainstream act of defiance and a symbolic rejection of an intensifying authoritarianism, neoliberal urbanism, and exclusionary planning practices. Growing interest in the mobilizing capacity of the emerging urban-environmental imaginary, however, has not remained exclusive to the opposition. Rather than dismissing the critique entirely, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has most recently embraced the politics of urban greenery and strived to mold it in its own image. This article focuses on the contentious politics of urban greenery in Istanbul and examines how the city's green public spaces have come to proxy a larger struggle over the future of Turkey. By discussing the possibilities, challenges, and limits of the politics of urban greenery, this article examines how the government has attempted to absorb an emerging urban-environmental objection into its fold. To do so, the article traces the genealogy of Istanbul's park politics in the last decade and most specifically focuses on the latest iteration of the urban greenery frenzy: the Gardens of the Nation. By studying how this nationwide urban greenery drive has been designed, promoted, discussed, inaugurated, and used, this article provides an account for the critical role green aesthetics play in conjuring up alternative environmental imaginaries and communities against the backdrop of a populist authoritarian climate.

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