About Guneskoy

Gunesköy Cooperative started in 2000, when 8 of us formed Turkey’s first `environmental cooperative`. We spent months looking for the right land, and in July 2002 we bought 75 000 m2 of `stony land` from the state.

Güneşköy is not yet a living village, nor is it thick with trees.  While it has dreams of fully environmental ways of interacting with nature, at the moment we are doing our best, realistic though still not ideal...

Where is Güneşköy?

Güneşköy is 65 km East of Ankara, 15 km South of the town of Elmadağ. It is 3km from the village of Hisarköy, in the province of Kırıkkale, district of Yaşihan.  At nearly 1000m altitude, winters are cold (until 2017-8, when winter just never came...) and summers can be very hot, although our dry heat is relatively more bearable than the damp heat of the coast.  

Before coming to Güneşköy -  practical information before your first visit.  

Why Güneşköy?

Because we aim to design an example that will be able to inspire people living in villages anywhere in Turkey. That is why we chose to start with poor soil, that we intend to work and enrich using natural ecological means.
Because we hope to show how cooperation between long-term residents of the area and others can benefit everyone: by reducing migration from villages, by using resources more effectively, by sharing information, by mutually supporting each other, by bridging between official sources and those who work the land.
To prove what can be done without quality arable land by developing uncultivated land.

A non-profit cooperative, aiming to demonstrate sustainable ecological alternatives in Central Anatolia.  To spread concepts of sustainable living, Güneşköy raises awareness of villagers and city dwellers by raising awareness of each others' needs and contributions, and builds bridges to connect people, by

  • developing farming along ecological principles, using and sharing local seeds.
  • promoting the use of renewable energy resources.
  • building eco-friendly designs with environmentally friendly materials.
  • identifying and using suitable environmentally friendly transportation.
  • Restoring damaged natural environments.
  • Working to re-establish damage natural balances.
  • Promoting effective use of resources, and developing recycling systems, 

When Güneşköy?

  • 2001: the group came together to discuss concepts and what could be done.
  • 2002: the land was purchased by auction: 74 000m2, for 22 000 000 000TL (in those days, a bus trip cost 1000 000TL)
  • 2004: the land was fenced and first trees were planted. A two roomed mud brick house was built. Broccoli was grown on the additional arable 10 000m2. A well was sunk 30m on neighbouring land, but absence of electricity prevents extraction.
  • 2005: first agriculture on the main land. Water problems, but eventually a sprinkler system works! Barley planted on main land, for the roots to break deep into the hardened soil.
  • 2006: More planting along the perimeter fence. First ‘Boxes’ project, delivering weekly organic produce to 40 families in Ankara.  One person worked the land, another was employed 2 days a week for the deliveries. UNDP Small Grants Project: biofuel production and use in tractors (with Türk Traktör company)
  • 2007: Straw bale "Mandala" building construction by a hundred volunteers.  Second ‘Boxes’ project, delivering weekly organic produce to 70 families in Ankara. A second person was employed to work on the land; so 3 people were getting wages.
  • 2008: Third ‘Boxes’ project, delivering weekly organic produce to over 90 families across Ankara. This meant 3 delivery days; very time consuming, so this year we’re trying a different system.     
  • 2009: By April people have already started joining up to our "Community Supported Agriculture" (CSA)    
  • 2011 January: On our first visit of the year we found engineers measuring up – for the construction of the Ankara Sivas High Speed Train.  This was the first we heard of this project.  So much for consultation…
  • 2012  “An Ecovillage-Initiative and its Interact”  Theresa Weitzhofer-Yurtışık (2012, MSc in Sociology, University of Vienna)
  • 2014  10 000 m2 compulsory purchased by the state for the viaduct. 
  • 2015 Negotiations with Doğuş construction company saves the Mandala building and 120 trees. 50 volunteers and Doğus workers transplant the remaining 80 trees to nearby locations.
  • 2016 Building restoration and reorganisation.
  • 2017 Renewed CSA project: delivery of produce to 8 collection points in Ankara.  First "Discover Nature" events.
  • 2018: End of the railway viaduct pillars.  11th CSA 

Some videos before the railway viaduct construction began 

Summer 2009 when our adobe building was the main structure, and we employed 4 people.

3.2015: The service road and contruction warning sign, but our hill Güneştepe is still there.  The strawbale Mandala needs attention, and our first building, the Infinity shaped (two circular rooms) adobe building is counting down to returning to dust - as all local buildings did since building began thousands of years ago.

6.2015 Views from Güneştepe hill -  It was a cold June day, after heavy rains which flooded the fields around the Balaban stream. 

How Güneşköy?

By involving as many volunteers as possible, to allow a great number to experience
By developing bonds with local people.

The Bahce project, started in 2006, produces organic vegetables that are delivered to families that subscribe (40 in 2006, 70 in 2007, 95 in 2008). In 2006 drip irrigation was introduced; in 2007 the first companion planting was tried. In 2008 a system of raised beds enabled a clearer layout of the crops.

Who was Güneşköy in the first 10 years? 
Eight founder members: Ali and Inci Gokmen, Atila Koc, Claire Ozel, Cetin Goksu, Evren Yilmaz, Fikret Simsek and his brother, Yavuz Ataman. And later Omur Evren and Fevzi Torun.   

Many active participlants came from Ankara: Özer Tayiz, Yasemin Çetiner, Ceyhan Temurcu, Nihal Poyraz Temurcu,  Ali İhsan Başgül…
From Elmadag: Talat Kurusakız
And the nearby village Hisarköy: Sinan, Mustafa, Ramazan, Ismail, Ethem dayi, several muhtar (village heads), …
Regular volunteers included Kivanç Cantimur, Ali Dogan, Neslihan, Fatih, Sinan Kayaligil, …
And foreign visitors have participated from Germany, Britain, Holland, Iran, Poland...

“An Ecovillage-Initiative and its Interact”  Theresa Weitzhofer-Yurtışık (2012, MSc in Sociology, University of Vienna) studied interactions between members of Güneşköy, and villagers in the village of Hisarköy in those early years.   

What at Güneşköy? 

Güneşköy flora - wild flowers and some other life forms an archive is growing of the wildlife seen at Güneşköy.  This is a long project, growing slowly...

Big things are easily noticed, but it is the millions of mini- and micro-organisms keep the biosphere turning. 

Vegetable boxes - 11th season in 2018