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Anxious Wait In Ataşehir 26/05/2011
Families with Roma and Abdal origin, who live under difficult circumstances in their tents behind the building of district governorate of Ataşehir , are in tense anticipation these days. The residents who are informed that their tents will be evicted soonly worry about their future.
Küçükbakkalköy region of İstanbul have been one of the most crowded Gypsy settlements of Turkey since the last days of Ottoman Empire. Küçükbakkalköy, which was a winter quarters for nomadic Gypsy tribes before, became a big neighbourhood when Abdals from Central Anatolia and Roma from various district of İstanbul settled to the area. People living there subsisted on scrap and paper collecting, flower selling and musicianship for long years.
Investors wanted to buy houses and lands in Küçükbakkalköy when current market value of lands in the area increased in 1990s. Investors got houses and lands from the residents on the cheap and shared the lands in Bakkalköy between them. The residents who didn't have enough information about the issue and who were so poor were not able to guess what would happen after they undersold their houses and their lands.
They faced the fact soonly as investors and the municipality declared them to evict their houses. Where would they go? Where would they live in? It was difficult for Gypsy families to live in non-Gypsy settlements for two reasons. Firstly, rental in Gace neighbourhoods were too high for Gyspy families. Secondly, there were too many house owners who didn't want to rent their houses to a Gypsy family.
A few of the families who sold their houses went to some other Gypsy settlements in Ümraniye, Alemdağ, Dudullu. Most of them continued to live in their houses in Bakkalköy as they have noplace to go. On the other hand, their houses were demolished for many times at the request of investors by the municipality. However, people who didn't have any place to go turned to the neighbourhood again and started to live in tents without anykind of infrastructure services. They weren't able to get certificate of residence. They weren't able to benefit from any kind of public services as they didn't have any certificate of residence.
Now, they are informed that their tents will be demolished again. Unfortunately, they stilll have no place to live in. At best, they will move to other Gypsy settlements in Ümraniye, Alemdağ... However, it's also planned that the other Gypsy settlements will also be evicted by municipalities. This means they will have to move again before they acclimate to their new neighbourhoods.
People, who sold their houses without knowing what the consequences would be, face a home truth now. If authorities don't do anything to stop this tragedy, the residents of Küçükbakkalköy will obligated to live a nomadic life again after several decades they give up nomadism.
Old News Related To The Issue
Source: Çingeneyiz İstanbul