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.
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
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.
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?
75 decares of land has about 20 decares that can be cultivated. The original vegetation, Central Anatolian steppe, is composed of plants that have developed strategies to survive the deep cold of winter, the roasting dryness of summer, with flash floods often taking soil without contributing much water to the slopes.
** The Mandala Staw Bale building, a meeting room for up to 50 people.
** The Stone Depot, half buried and so not visible from the air
** GünSera, the prototype solar greenhouse: 500m2, built into the slope. The lower part has 250m2 for planting, the higher part has 4 rooms, 2 bathrooms, and a kitchen and large meeting/eating room.
** Toilets: as well as the two toilets in GünSera (connected to a sceptic tank), a compost toilet (built by a volunteer in 2016) allows direct contributions to the soil. In future, a tree will be planted to grow from the rich nutrients. An earlier version still stands north of the Mandala building
The wild flowers are varied, richest especially in May. 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 that keep the biosphere turning.
Vegetable boxes - 11th season in 2018