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.
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.
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
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.