Thursday, November 10, 2011

Re-settling the Roma

SOYMB blog has drawn attention to the oft-forgotten victims of racial persecution - the Roma, most commonly called Gypsies.

An "urban regeneration" scheme that threw thousands of Roma out of their historic settlement in Sulukule, one of the oldest permanent Roma settlements in the world, and situated in the Istanbul district of Fatih is now advertising new townhouses in the district at almost 10 times the price paid to the evictees.

The 3,400 Roma living in Sulukule were forced to sell their homes for 500 Turkisl Lira (£175) per sq metre to private investors and the Fatih municipality. 640 "Ottoman-style" townhouses and offices are springing up on the 22-acre (nine-hectare) site that had housed the local Roma population for over a millennium. The price of the new properties? From TL3,500 to TL 4,500 per sq metre.

"This was never meant to be a regeneration project, but a project to generate profit, and to force Roma away from the city centre." said Sükrü Pündük, President of the Sulukule Roma Cultural Development and Solidarity Association.


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