Two buildings would be demolished without any prior notice within the scope of "urban transformation" in Suleymaniye.
This transformation project aims to "revitalize" Ottoman District is being handled by Municipality of Fatih and an organization of the Municipality called KIPTAS.
The householders were either forced to sell or wanted to sell their houses to KIPTAS. Tenants at the houses and studios remained. Now they also have to evacuate the buildings.
Morning announcement: "There is Demolition"
The residents of Hacıgıyaseddin District woke up with an announcement at 7 o'clock in the morning: "Wake up and evacuate the houses, we came for demolition."
Meanwhile, the electricity and the water of the buildings were cut off. The demolition is stopped for a while due to the resistance of the residents. However, the authorities told the families that they would finish the demolition the next day.
The residents have information about the demolition for 6 years. They do not say "We will not go, this is our place". However they say they didn't have any prior notice and the corporation has promised to postpone the demolition until the schools are closed.
A woman who woke up in the morning and saw a bulldozer bucket at her yard says "We couldn't get what's happening".
Most of the Suleymaniye residents came from Kurdish region by forced migration.
Meliha Akar, migrated from Mardin 13 years ago; her both sons are disabled; one of them lives connected to oxygen equipment. During the electricity cut off the woman was concerned about her son's health and as a result of the efforts of this woman, they switched on the electricity of that building.
The husband of Akar works at a hotel at Aksaray. Their three daughters are going to school, they are getting ready to go to university.
"There was no job there so we migrated here compulsorily. We do not say that we're not going to live here. However those children are going to school; it's not so easy to register them for another school"
"The state withdraws its support and those young people go to mountains"
60-year-old Emine Kurtay is opening her door by saying "Did Prime Minister deem this proper for us?"
Kurtay migrated 8 years ago from Mardin and the one of her sons is at the prison, the other one has psychological problems so he was sent for sick leave from the military service.
Kurtay was waiting for the release of her prisoner son thanks to recent repentance law, "I was waiting for my son to release before I look for a new apartment. How can I find it by myself alone? He'll be at the prison for 8 more months, he couldn't benefit from the recent repentance law."
Kurtay couldn't help crying while talking to us:
"I am calling out to Tayyip Erdoğan, how can a Muslim do something like this? We do not say "we'll not go" we have no right here. However, we ask for a period of time so that we can find a new place to go. How can you demolish people's houses without any prior notice? When the state withdraws its support, young people are going to the mountains. We cannot prevent this."
"It was already known that these places would be demolished. They will not go even though we gave them an extra period of time" says Murat Uzun, 'City Planner' working in KIPTAS.
He says they can wait until the schools are closed and then he describes us how 'beautiful' Suleymaniye will be after the completion of the project process.
What's happening in Suleymaniye?
Suleymaniye was formed as an Ottoman district at the 16th century and most of the mosques, churches, madrasahs and Islamic-Ottoman social complexes were protected by now. In the past they were the preferred places of "elite and rich class", however this was changed into poor residential areas after 1950's.
Suleymaniye became a "protected area" in 1977; it was included in to UNESCO History Heritage list in1985 , and it was declared as a "renewal area" in 2006.
The renovation will be formed in 5 stages and it covers 938.000 square meters, 728 registered, 1239 unregistered buildings.
The project was launched in 2007 with the idea of "revitalizing Ottoman-Turkish District" and UNESCO Executive Committee in İstanbul stated that the historical buildings were demolished, then reconstructed by steel and this would destroy the best examples of Ottoman wooden architecture.(NV)