A Semantic Approach to the City: Three Urban Symbols in Ankara B. S. Ezgi Saritas I.

Introduction The intention of this short essay is to provide a brief analysis of urban semiotics in Ankara. In this framework, three urban symbols in Ankara, Ataturk monument in Ulus, Hittite Sun Disk monument in Sihhiye and Atakule shopping centre in Cankaya, will be studied. These three symbols are not “the” symbols of Ankara, and many others could have been chosen such as Anitkabir, Turkish National Assembly Building or Kocatepe Mosque. Moreover a “symbol” of a city is different for different groups, also the meaning it has is not the same for everyone. However the “official” symbol of a city is representative of the power relations that are at stake in determining that symbol. Before the semiological reading of Ankara, a brief analysis of semiotics will be provided. Through this, the concept of “symbol” will be elaborated in the light of Charles S. Peirce’s semeiotic analysis. After that, this general framework will be applied to the urban space in the light of Gottdiener’s socio-semiotics and Roland Barthes’ analysis of urban semiology . A reading of Ankara through the above mentioned three symbols revolves around the north-south axis of the city which is an axis important in both historical development and current mapping of Ankara. In order to understand the significance of three urban symbols, it is important to mention the symbolic importance of the city itself. With an understanding of the symbolic significance of Ankara, the three symbols will be studied in their own historical contexts. In all three cases, their initial symbolic effects changed through the time as well as the way they are read by the inhabitants of the city today. In the essay a semantic approach to the city will be tried to developed in Barthes’ terms.

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In this attempt at a semantic approach the city we should try to understand the play of signs, to understand that any city is a structure, but that we must never try and we must never want to fill in this structure. For the city is a poem, as has often been said and as Hugo said better than anyone else, but it is not a classical poem, a poem tidily centred on a subject. It is poem which unfolds the signifier and it is this unfolding that ultimately the semiology of the city should try to grasp and make sing.” (Barthes, 1997: 172)

II. Theoretical Framework II.I. Sign and the “Symbol” Semiotics defined by Gottdiener is a system of knowledge that takes the “sign” as its basic unit. (Gottdiener, 1995:4) Gottdiener divides the current semiotic arguments into two traditions: the post-Saussurean approach and the one that follows Peirce. (ibid.) Saussure and Peirce were developing two separate theories of sign in the same period without knowing about each other. In this study I will not directly mention about Saussurean tradition, but rather concentrate on Peirce’s “semeiotic”1 Peirce defines the sign as standing “for something to the idea which it produces, or modifies. Or it is a vehicle conveying into the mind something from without.” (Peirce, 1931 quoted from Gottdiener, 1995: 9-10) The object is the thing that the symbol stands for while interpretant is the idea it creates, its reflection on the mind. (ibid.) A sign has no meaning when it is not received, but perception is not enough; the sign has to be interpreted too. (Hoopes, 1991:8) Also a thought has no meaning when it is not a sign. For Peirce thinking is not a pure mental process without any relation to material world, and through the signs- which are in direct relation with the material world- we are able to think. However the relation between the mental processes and the material world is not a

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I use word “semeiotic” when I refer to Peirce as Max Fisch informs us that Peirce frequently used that word. He never used the word “semiotics” and he rarely used “semiotic”. (Fisch, 1986:322)

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In symbol the meaning is created in the mind of the interpretant. the sign is an index. Symbols’ meaning are subject to transformation over the time as well as negotiation between different actors in a given time.”2 (Peirce. (Fisch. (Hoopes. things signified. 1986: 332-333) A sign is classified under either one of the three kinds when one aspect is more prominent than the others. cognition produced in the mind. 2 Here symbol is referred as “name”. This is one of the reasons why Gottdiener prefers to use Peirce in “sociosemiotics” over Saussurean semiotics which could be criticised of being too mechanistic. in Peirce’s theory. However what is significant here is that this meaning is not due some transcendental given truth but due to historical and cultural factors. There may be a mere relation between the sign and the thing signified. there is no single “sign” but rather there are three: the icon. Or there may be a relation which consists in the fact that the mind associates the sign with its object. in that case.mechanical one. Another reason is. (ibid. the relation between meaning and sign is not necessarily arbitrary according to Peirce. In Peirce’s words this classification becomes more clear: This explains why there should be three classes of signs. the index and the symbol. 1991:182) These three kind of signs are not mutually exclusive and they should be taken as aspects of semeiosis.) Different from Saussure. unlike Saussure. in that case the sign is an icon. “symbol” is the one that is most appropriate for this paper. Within this classification. 1991:12) This way of analysis permits us to take the historical forces into account while examining the relationship between the sign and the meaning. Or there may be a direct physical connection. 3 . for there is a triple connection of the sign. in that case the sign is a name.

26) Following an Althusserian line. It is the ideology that is encountered everyday. the media or the built environment. the church. 1995:26) Both this objective world and the interpretation of the sign are derived from codified ideologies.) In such a framework. However this does not mean that the codified ideologies fix one reading of a sign. (Gottdiener. in referring to the concept of sign and symbol. it becomes clear that the built environment is the materialization of ideologies in the most tactical sense of the world.28) We can read them in several aspects of the life including the institutions such as the school. II.it is almost impossible to avoid the meaning inscribed in the built environment. (ibid..II. Barthes refers to earlier examples that could be taken as efforts at urban semiology. (ibid. Gottdiener says that these encoded ideologies are not mere discourses but they are realized in the daily life materially.III. The object that lies behind the meaning is not neglected. Peirce’s framework will be used. Social Semiotics As mentioned earlier. Another approach that will be used in the theoretical framework is social semiotics as referred by Mark Gottdiener. Gottdiener is very much influenced by Peirce’s semeiotic and one of the basic premises of his approach is taken from him. 4 . (ibid. or not sending your children to school. One important semiological analysis of the city that needs to be mentioned here belongs to Roland Barthes.II. rather several ideologies intersect in one cultural expression which creates polysemy. and even though one might try to escape other cultural expressions of these encoded ideologies simply by avoiding them – meaning switching the TV off. It is peculiar that even though the built environment has such an effect on our lives. This relates to the examining of the sign in its material context of the daily life. Urban Semiology The third source of the theoretical framework is that of Barthes’ urban semiological analysis. it has been rarely subject to such reading..

Barthes claims that we shall start using the technique of symbols . we speak our city. 1997:167) When look closer at Lynch’s concepts. edge. In this essay the notion of symbol is preferred instead of landmark as the attempt is to question the relations that lay behind the process of signification. location of the landmark. he is not focusing on the power relations taking place in that process. When compared to Lynch’s neutral reading of the city. simply by living in it. Landmark remains more a “neutral” and descriptive term. by wandering through it. However. Lynch defines landmark as a physical element which is an external point of reference to the observer. In order to start speaking about the language of the city. With these characteristics. According to Barthes. However Lynch’s analysis remains more Gestalt than structural. Although Lynch’s analysis helps to read the city more easily. although Lynch talks about the meaning attached to a landmark. or the meanings that are attributed to it (such as the historical associations) are the factors that strengthen a landmark. 1997: 168) 5 . (Barthes. Barthes’ analysis provides a better framework as he regards the city as a discourse. node. path and district can be taken as concepts belonging to a semiological analysis. landmark seems to be a notion that is useful in an analysis such as mine. An important characteristic of landmark is its singularity. the power relations that lie behind the signification processes and the meaning that is negotiated is not reflected in his concepts.One of the prominent names is Kevin Lynch. the activity associated with it. 1997: 168) However it is difficult to speak about the language of the city without metaphor. (Barthes. Lynch’s concept of legibility and his concepts of landmark. 1960:78) Spatial prominence. The city is a discourse and this discourse is truly a language: the city speaks to its inhabitants. (Barthes. we see the concept of landmark gains a specific importance within the framework of this essay. by looking at it. (Lynch.

” (Barthes. (Barthes. Empty signifier is determined not by its content but by its correlative position. The meaning becomes a negotiated one. however Barthes’ usage of the word refers to its syntagmatic or paradigmatic nature. 1997: 169) An example that could be given is a city centre that is not a concentration of any particular activity but is important in terms of the organization of other parts of the city. When we move about a city. One signified might have several different signifiers that change over the time. if we look at the relation between the signifier and the signified we see that the signifiers are transient. 6 . A concept that deserves some attention in this analysis is the concept of empty signifier. (Barthes. 1997: 169) Within such a framework. (Barthes. 1997: 170) However the reader is not totally free while reading the city.Before telling us more about this technique. unawares. This reading should not be taken as a structural one where the agent is totally determined by the structure. 1997: 168-169) The word “symbol” has always meant the existence of a signified. The attempt will be trying to look at this negotiated meaning while analysing the three urban symbols in Ankara. meaning referring to the organization of meaning rather than to the semantic dimension. we all are in a situation of the reader of the 1000.000 million poems of Queneau. Before doing that Ankara’s significance as a symbol itself will be analysed. by changing the fragments’ places they can have new readings and reach at new meanings. where one can find a different poem by changing a single line. 1997: 169) The discourse of the city has no fixed reading.(Barthes. we are somewhat like this avant-garde reader when we are in city. s/he is reading within the encoded ideologies. nor s/he should be regarded as a free interpreter of meaning. As the urban dwellers are the readers of its discourse. first Barthes reminds us that symbolism is no longer perceived as a fixed correspondence between signifiers and signifieds.

quoted from Aksehir. The War of Independence was the “past” that the new republic would refer to and Ankara was a good choice in that respect because of the important role it played in the War of Independence. in the context of Ankara such an explanation seems appropriate. it was not easy for it to be accepted as the capital instead of Istanbul. First of all it lacked the infrastructure as a capital but more importantly the tradition of Istanbul as a capital was very strong. 1992:15. Programmatically the modern capital is expected to be both practical and symbolic focus of national administration and especially it is expected to serve as the focus of efforts to promote a sense of national identity.III. 7 . Defining a new capital instead of Istanbul was one of the most ambitious projects of the new republic in trying to construct its sovereignty and the new “Turkish” identity. 2002:21) Ankara has always been the symbol of the War of Independence and the Kemalist republican ideals. (Kilinc. Ankara came to represent different things. In these ways it differs from other cities. independent republic that would start a fast modernization process which would be reflected on the capital more than any other city in Turkey. Although Ankara had already become the centre of the struggle in the War of Independence.. and it belonged to the Ottoman past that was tried to be negated by the new republic. Ankara has become the capital of the newly founded Republic of Turkey in 1923. 2005: 379) It was to represent the young. However the new elite of the republic decided that Istanbul could not continue to be the capital both because it was open to foreign invasion in terms of its geographical location. (Vale. (Aydin et al. however as the symbolic power of them are weakened through the time. 2003: 21) Although the sole reason for the symbolic force of a capital is not that. Ankara as a Symbol As Vale says the capital has a symbolic force because the government is seated there.

It was the first public space that the new republic produced and it was the place where the new republican identity was represented and practiced through architecture. The square was the centre of the city since late 19th century and it was the place where the War of Independence was conducted. Although it does not have a lively and attractive image. 2002: 166) The square was originally named Tashan after a building that was built in 1890’s. (Yalim. Ataturk Monument in Ulus IV. The three urban symbols in question are arrayed in the same order historically as they do geographically on this axis: Ataturk monument in Ulus (1927). Ulus was the focus of Ankara and it represented the meanings assigned to the city. or economy. With the foundation of the republic.Ankara is not a city with a lively social. 2002: 158) During the War of Independence and the early years of the republic.I. IV. It is generally referred as the dull city of bureaucracy. the main north-south axis will be followed. In the city one can easily read the official discourses that are encoded in the built environment and their shifts over the time. it was named Hakimiyet-i Milliye Meydani (Sovereignty of the Nation Square) and in 1930’s this Ottoman name was changed into the Turkish. Ulus Meydani (Nation Square). Hittite Sun Disk monument in Sihhiye (1978) and Atakule in Cankaya (1989). cultural life. it has been a city where there is a lot of state activities taking place as the state bureaucracy is located here. (Yalim. The ways these discourses were represented in urban symbols and what kind of conflicts rose in this process will be analysed and while doing this.I.I. This is also reflected in the built environment and the city has become a site where the sovereign power is expressed. Three Urban Symbols in Ankara IV. Ulus and the Monument During Late 1920’s and 1930’s Ulus is originally designed as the centre of Ankara. 8 . practices of everyday life and ceremonies.

This caused it to remain external to the daily lives of the inhabitants who were not able to experience the built environment but could only be spectators. 2002: 183. the monument was making its references to the immediate past namely the War of Independence. (Yalim. The celebrations and ceremonies taking place in the square were very important in terms of their symbolic significance. On the back of the figure of Ataturk there is a peasant woman carrying a bomb to the battlefield.In the 1930’s the square was defined with the public office buildings surrounding it. On the left hand-side there is the figure of a soldier standing straight. 2002:197) Around him are three figures that represent the people who made it possible the war to be won. (Yalim. (Yalim. 9 . ready to defend his country. dignified and altruistic. (Yalim. (Yalim. The Ataturk monument in the middle of the square is significant as it was where all this was most concentrated. the square became a centre of trade and a place where cultural and social life was most lively. 202) There are also relief works on the two sides depicting famous scenes from the War of Independence. (Colombijn. 2002:197) The monument as an urban symbol is one which the meaning is attached to it “as such” in Colombijn’s classification of urban symbols. 187) By the 1930’s. become more than just spectators and take an active part in the construction of meaning. 2002: 192-193) These were important occasions in which the inhabitants of the city could interact with the built environment. (Yalim. 2002:197) The monument was designed around the figure of Ataturk as he was the person that would represent those ideas best. progressive Turkish nationality. 2002: 201. on the right hand side there is another soldier watching for the enemy. The ceremonies and daily practices that were tried to be imposed and architectural elements were to reflect one set of value system and common objectives: modern. 1993: 61) While representing the national solidarity and the independence. Through these three figures the Turkish people are reflected as brave.

2005: 544. In 1935 Tashan building was sold to a community bank that was funded by the state led textile industry. Till the 1950s. 2002: 208) In 1950 the single party rule of CHP (Republican People’s Party) came to an end. 2002:213) However from 10 . New government party Democrat Party was negating the homogenous nation state and defending liberalism and populism. This was one of the factors that caused the square to become the trade centre of working class. cinemas. Sumerbank turned into a provider of clothing at low prices. IV.. Ulus had been the place where the dominant ideology was encoded in its symbols. (Yalim. or Kizilay as it is referred today) which is on the south of Ulus. especially the monument.1. 2005: 544) The centre gradually shifted to Yenisehir (New Town. With the end of etatist economy policies in 1950’s.I. Sumerbank. The monument is surrounded by the shops around the square.. Yalim. Ataturk monument in Ulus. restaurants and finally public office buildings started to move towards the south along the main north-south axis. (Aydin et al. The hotels.Fig. (Aydin et al.II Ulus and the Monument Today From 1940’s onwards both the square and the monument underwent a rapid transformation and gradually lost its significance.

New Town) and a lower class 11 . It is ironic that the latter has neglected the monument in particular and Ulus area in general for a long time as they have been represented as the symbols of insecurity and lower class life-style for the modern.II. IV. This makes it a centre of the conflict between the pro-Islamic local government and Kemalist circles that defend the square. For those who live in distant squatter houses (gecekondu) it is one more Ataturk statue they see once or twice a year when they go to Ulus for shopping. Like all urban symbols. What it signifies today is not the heroism or independence of the nation. but rather the ghost of these ideas. Sihhiye and the Monument in 1970’s Starting from 1950’s the city has started to have two centres. while for others who rarely go to Ulus it is an object of nostalgia that they should defend against the pro-Islamic. The city is still organized around it. and for others who live in distant upper-middle class suburbs it is also another Ataturk statue that they would never see. elite inhabitants of the city that live in the South. but also the square did and it was neglected by the authorities.I. In the context of current urban regeneration projects. Today the monument is not legible anymore because of the busy traffic and the shops surrounding the square.1950s onwards. Hittite Sun Disk Monument in Sihhiye IV. the monument has different meanings for the inhabitants of the city. not only the dominant ideology was challenged. however its meaning is hollowed. As Barthes says it is a silly effort to try to hunt all of the signifieds as they are changing through the time as well as for different groups in the city. neo-liberal regeneration. In 1970’s the there was a upper class circle around southern centre Kizilay (or Yenisehir. the square is under the threat of destruction. For some who use the square in their daily lives it serves as a landmark. When reading the city through the north-south axis it becomes an empty signifier in Barthes’ terms.II.

One of his projects was the establishment of the monument in Sihhiye as a monument that would symbolize Ankara. The second symbol Hittite Disk monument in Sihhiye and the square around it is where this period is symbolised. Although generally known to be belonging to the Hittites. Hittite Sun monument was deliberately built to represent the city. 2003: 159) This population was concentrated in the northern part of city and were living in the flourishing squatter’s houses. (Aydin et al. gecekondu. which was criticized of being a city without any history. (Sengul. Although Dalokay’s intention to make the Hittite Sun Ankara’s symbol met resistance from the central 3 The term gecekondu means “built over one night” if it is translated literally from Turkish. Adoption of the symbol by the local government in the 1970s was important in terms of accentuating the “Anatolian” character of the city. 2003:162) CHP. the symbol of Hittite Sun belongs to Hatti civilization that used to live around the area where Ankara is situated today during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Like the Ataturk monument. Vedat Dalokay is an important historical figure of that period as the municipal leader of Ankara between 1973-1977. There was a conflict between this left-wing local governments and the right wing central government. 12 . Ankara. 2005: 546) Between 1950’s and 1970’s migration of the rural population to the urban centres was the most important characteristic of urban space in Turkey. (Sengul. once the authoritarian single party of the republic.. 2003: 162) This is a period that the city was governed democratically by the active participation of the city dwellers. started to adopt a more social democratic discourse and CHP municipalities were representing the poors of squatters that needed social policies.circle around the northern centre Ulus. 3 Local government elections of 1973 was very important in terms of the way the squatter population effected the results and CHP won the elections in many cities. was given a historical reference which dated back from the Ottoman history that the Republic negated. (Sengul. It is also important as being the place where the radical political movements were organized.

13 . Gradually the monument has become far from being legible. The traffic also creates a distance between the pedestrians and the monument. making the monument and the square an island that is surrounded by several urban motorways. As a result of the conflicts around the monument. Today very few of the inhabitants of the city are aware of the history that it is there to represent. the right wing local governments of Ankara deliberately diverted the traffic around the square. While the two other symbols are part of the everyday lives of people at least as a meeting place. while for the Islamists this pre-Muslim symbol was not appropriate for the capital. The monument is hardly a part of the every-day lives of the urbanites. the monument’s construction was finished in 1978. Fig.2.II.II. one has to pay a great effort to go near the monument. and even less know about the story of its construction. Sihhiye and The Sun Disk Monument Today Along the north-south axis Sihhiye is a mid-point between the northern region of the poor and the richer southern region.government. Hittite Sun Disk monument in Sihhiye IV. The nationalists in the central government opposed the monument on the grounds that it made a reference to a preTurkish history. For the local and central authorities it does not have any significance either and it is largely neglected.

it has become a transition point without an identity of its own and is void of any official meaning imposing itself on the readers of the city. it is not a lively social place anymore. but as a result of the busy traffic around it. However in one specific occasion the distance between the monument and people diminishes and these are the protests.Over the years. 4 Sihhiye comes from the word “sihhat” that means health. both the Lausanne square where the monument is situated and Abdi Ipekci park are the places where most of the legal protests take place and the monument is a symbol of these protests. This makes the square a public space though a peculiar one where there is no real place for the people to get socialized. 14 . Earlier Abdi Ipekci Park near the square was serving such a function. Sihhiye gains another important characteristic. there is almost no space for the pedestrians. and it is in a difficult position to be reached by the pedestrians. Fig.4 Being a place where public hospitals are concentrated. One of the most important characteristics of Sihhiye is that it is full of public buildings. As a point of transition it is full of potential meanings that could be attached to it by the inhabitants of the city.where every faction in the city has to go for health services. In Sihhiye.3. It has been a place -and to a certain extent still is despite the increasing number of private hospitals. The monument is in the middle of the busy traffic. The name Sihhiye comes from this characteristic of the area. especially hospitals. This is true for Sihhiye in general.

and visible from most of the city. 5. (Erdentug and Burcak. Fig. but also of the recently completed Kocatepe mosque. 1998: 598) For the first time the reference is made to the previously negated Islamic-Ottoman past by a symbol of the city. 2004:88) In the new emblem there is a white silhouette of a mosque combined with the tower of shopping mall Atakule on a navy blue background. (Ekici.The sun disk also became the official emblem of the city during Dalokay’s municipality and it was a very controversial issue of that time. When the official emblem was changed by Melih Gokcek in 1990s –a pro-Islamic mayor who is still in rule. One other reference was made in this emblem was the “modern” Ankara represented by the first shopping mall in Ankara. The First Emblem of Ankara. up on Cankaya. As Ekici says this time it was a conflict between the secularists and the fundamentalists. The mosque is not only reminiscent of ‘old Ankara’. Atakule.it was again very controversial. the tower is in ‘new Ankara’. the largest one built in Ankara in the republican period. Similar to the post-office towers of some western countries. the Islamic-Ottoman past. The crescent and star represent the Turkish flag. Hittite Sun Disk and the Current Emblem 15 .

The tower was designed to offer a panoramic view of Ankara.6. (Aksehir. however its function as a landmark that could be seen from most of the city was a more important intention. which is the “form of content” or codified ideology.III. Atakule was also deliberately designed to be a symbol. 1995:84) Fig. articulates the image-driven culture of the larger society and its ideologies of consumption that are propagated by the media. Atakule in Cankaya 16 . Atakule as an Urban Symbol Within the three symbols analyzed. The period the mall was built is important in terms of understanding what Atakule symbolizes. 2003: 33) The content of the mall experience.IV. Starting from 1980’s neo-liberal economic policies were started to be adopted in Turkey. Its symbolic characteristic stems both from its being a mall and from the tower that could be seen from many places of the city. Like the other symbols studied. One reflection of the new consumerist and individualist life-style that emerged as a result of these policies was the construction of the first shopping mall in Ankara in 1989. (Gottdiener. Atakule is the only one that is also functional.

isolated environment which is the general characteristic of malls. was the last point reached. (Aksehir. but also the Head of Republic’s office gives Cankaya a prestigious status. Cankaya. 2003: 50) This status was much stronger in the early 1990’s and shopping from Atakule was perceived as a status symbol. On this end. With Atakule the new modern Turkey was tried to be represented. the dweller of the city was given a sense of privilege to see the city from such high point both because Atakule was a status symbol and also it used to cost too much to go up the tower. The consumerist and individualist identity represented by Atakule was 17 . With such a structure the aim was to integrate the inside while closing to outside. the upper class population is more concentrated. (Gottdiener. The modern Turkish citizen was defined by being entrepreneurial and eager to adopt the new life-style prompted by consumerism. In the shift of power from north to the south in Ankara’s transformation through the time. however this “modernity” was a little different from what the Ataturk monument in Ulus represented. where Atakule was situated. Not only the well-off population living in that area. It was a Turkey that tried to get integrated to the world market through adopting neo-liberal policies. 1995: 90) Atakule’s mirror like outer walls represents such a separation from the outer world. In the early years of the mall.Atakule is situated at the south end of the north-south axis on which the two other symbols are situated. 2003: 85) While the mall is isolating the street level outside from the inside. In 1995 a new emblem of the city was adopted and Atakule was one of the defining figures in that emblem. One other thing Atakule offered is a quasi-public space with a safe. The mall is denying the outside through an “introversion”. Still the street is kept at a safe distance from the new individualist dweller of the city. (Aksehir. the outside is offered as a spectacle by the panoramic view of the tower. and be a part of the European community.

V. from the main north-south axis. the focus shifted. New malls that offer a variety of brands. We are reading the language of the city everyday without realizing This reading is not free of the encoded ideologies. The others expected the urbanites to act according to what the symbol was representing. is not a centre where economic. This creates a potential 18 . In the consumerist society it represents. which is functional as a shopping centre. In this short paper I tried to reveal the official discourses that manifested themselves in the space in the capital of Turkey since the foundation of the Republic. a supermarket. leisure activities and larger spaces emerged. a cinema. Only one of the symbols represented the incorporation of the urbanites in the construction of the meaning. but still it is not as popular as its competitors. None of the symbols possesses a real symbolic power today.combined with the religious identity. In order to restore its popularity. although few of the inhabitants of Ankara would accept it as the symbol of the city. They are all out-dated symbols. However it still serves as a landmark. although not completely. the fact that today all three are neglected by the authorities that encoded an ideology in them plays an important role. everything grows out of fashion so quickly and so it did. new cafes and restaurants are opened in Atakule. Today Atakule has lost its popularity as a shopping mall and also as a symbol. Actually this strange combination is representative of the image of Turkey in the process of European Union integration. With the expansion of city and the emergence of new suburbs. In the choice of these three symbols. wandering around it. Even Atakule. this is true for Atakule too which is the current official emblem of the city. One other aspect is that none of these symbols are actively parts of the daily lives of the inhabitants of Ankara. social or cultural activities are concentrated. Conclusion As Barthes says the inhabitant of the city reads the discourse of the city through living in it.

19 . The Hittite monument in Sihhiye is a good example of how this void could be filled with new meanings by the urbanites. cultural and political life is concentrated most on the north-south axis. aside.for the urbanites to fill the void left. A further attempt at the semiological analysis of the city through the symbols should incorporate the way the inhabitants of the city read it. there has not been any attempt in doing so. This is why I left Kizilay. social. In this short essay an outline for that kind of a deeper analysis is tried to be drawn. but the negation of the official discourse by the dwellers of the city is an important indicator of such a potential. For the Ataturk monument in Ulus and Atakule in Cankaya. the practical centre of Ankara where the economic.

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