Turkey: Roma Families in Istanbul Face Continued Gentrification
Civil society organizations have been reporting that over the past decade, Roma families in Turkey have been forced to repeatedly uproot their families in search of new residences. These migrations have occurred in response to an unparalleled boom in construction that has replaced small homes in Roma neighborhoods with apartment blocks created to serve clients with higher incomes.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation recently conducted an interview with Uygun Dum, a Romani man who has been forced to relocate his family multiple times due to the continued gentrification within Turkey. Currently, “Uygun Dum lives with 17 members of his extended family in a ramshackle shed with no hot water in Istanbul's Kucukbakkalkoy neighborhood,” and was served an eviction notice last month, Reuters reported.
The family has worked to survive by selling flowers next to their home. However, since the flower season has just ended, the family now collects items for recycling in the interim.
Despite having documents that should have protected the Dum family from losing their property, they have fallen victim nonetheless to the redevelopment permeating Istanbul. In response to their continued forced relocations, the Dum family has filed a lawsuit against the municipality, knowing the legal battle will be arduous.
According to The Guardian, “Turkey is undertaking gentrification by fiat and force – a top-down, lightning-fast version of a process that in mature cities happens more organically.” Such growth has reportedly left many residents feeling overwhelmed and tense.
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