Last summer, GB visited the oldest Rom settlement in the world: Sulukule in Istanbul, Turkey (you can read more about the visit here ).
Despite a thousand-year heritage, authorities are allowing the destruction of Sulukule to make way for a brand new building development. Check out the more recent photos…
However, there is still hope!
The pressures by the local and international media and institutions, including the threat of UNESCO about taking Istanbul out of the World Heritage List due to the violations against conventions, raised an interest in the alternative efforts spent by the volunteers of the STOP project.
In June 2009, the president of TOKI invited the volunteers of the STOP project to Ankara in order to present it. Upon this request representatives of the volunteers had a meeting with TOKI in Ankara and explained the main approach of the project. TOKI asked the volunteers to revise the project in one month time according to the current situation of the neighborhood, which was demolished almost entirely by then. After the meeting, a new workshop (Sulukule Studio), initially consisted of Sulukule Platform and Solidarity Atelier but open to any participation and support, has started to work on the alternative project. At the moment, this workshop is in full progress for an alternative plan that aims to regain the housing rights of Sulukule residents and minimize the damage that has been caused so far. The initial decisions were shared with a larger public and the media in two meetings and a huge support was received.
As the volunteers of the alternative project, we would like to make an urgent call to the concerned institutions to give their support at this critical period in order to encourage TOKI to consider the alternative project seriously. We have prepared a sample letter for the institutions to fax the president of TOKI, Erdogan Bayraktar, at (0090) 312 266 77 48.
However, we would like to stress that we would appreciate the institutions prepare their own versions of this letter.
Please forward a copy of the fax to the e-mail provided below.
Thank you very much for your support.
e-mail: aysimt (at) yahoo.com
You can find a sample letter here at No-Racism.net . Support the people of Sulukule!