Friday, 12 June 2009

Sulukule update: New AKP gentry in Roma district March 2009

Demolition of the thousand-year-old Gypsy Roma quarter of Sulukule, hard up against the ancient Byzantine city walls, continues (see prior posts under ‘Istanbul’). The Roma are to be moved to an area outside the city where they would have no opportunity to continue their musical and entertainment traditions and lifestyle. In their place, the city would build middle-class villas.

Now allegations have surfaced that AKP officials involved in razing the neighborhood have bought some of the land and new houses.  No one is suprised by this, and there have been some forced resignations. (click here) The losers are the very poor, relatively uneducated Roma, a minority whose culture is undoubtedly offensive to the alcohol-shunning, buttoned-up pious population in surrounding neighborhoods and in the AKP. The AKP used to claim it was the ‘clean’ party.  It’s time it took itself to the laundry.

An extract from the original note:

ISTANBUL - Resignations and suspensions have brought attention to ethically questionable land purchases by ruling party politicians and people close to them in the municipality responsible for the urban transformation in Sulukule. Recent reports suggest political actors in Istanbul’s Fatih district are cashing in as local Roma residents are checked out.

Full note available at:

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