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Panel 10. Paper 10.2: Contradictions Between Local Values and Top-down Conservation Priorities: Taşkale, Turkey

Taşkale village, located on a valley, has been formed by having direct relations with nature within its own dynamics. In its historical continuum, there has always been active and continuous use of places even though functions change in time. The initial settlement starts in rock-cut spaces, then the settlement moves towards the slope of the valley in front of the rock formation. The rock formation has been used for various purposes of inhabitation, storage and worshipping since prehistoric times onwards. The church carved in the rock is still in active use today as a mosque and the rock-cut granaries are used to store agricultural products. The surrounding landscape is also actively used by the inhabitants for agriculture and husbandry purposes. In addition to the active use of the landscape, there are strong intangible relations by inhabitants with nature and their living environment. This is mainly because ongoing life is dependent on nature both for economic and socio-cultural activities. To conclude, Taşkale Village embraces multiple historical, cultural, socio-economic and spiritual values. However, after the recognition of these multiple local heritage values, conservation site decisions are designated by the central government. Even though these decisions are given for the sake of conservation, the regulations prevent the daily use of these places and abide the conservation actions into set of rules that are contradicting with the ongoing local lifecycle. Besides, state visions about development and economic-benefit oriented tourism policies affect the physical and also socio-economic structure of the village. In the end, contradictions occur between the local values and top-down conservation and development priorities. Due to these contradictions, the inhabitants, who are the active users and guardians of their living environment start to abandon these places, mainly because they cannot continue their daily life activities. Consequently, these places are degraded and lost in time. Within the content of this paper, contradictory values and priorities between locals and decision makers that affect the future of the rural landscapes will be open to discussion deriving from the experiences learnt from the case of Taşkale Village.