In Istanbul, Forced Evictions of City's Most Vulnerable

July 22, 2011

Besra, a single mother with a small child, returned from visiting her mother in the hospital to find her door broken in.  Officials forced her to vacate her home immediately, throwing her belongings out onto the street.

Istanbul Evictions
A number of vulnerable families in the Tarlabaşı district have already been evicted © Jonathan Lewis

Another resident, an unemployed 60-year-old man with a lung condition, told Amnesty International that he had been forced to sign eviction notices that he was not allowed to read.

According to Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey,

“Most of those facing eviction have not been given adequate notice. They have not been consulted, provided with legal remedies, or offered adequate alternative housing or compensation. This is a violation of their human rights. There must also be an investigation into the allegations of harassment by public officials.”

Other families threatened with eviction include some of Turkey’s most vulnerable populations: Roma, Kurds who settled in the Tarlabaşı district of Beyoğlu after being displaced from south-eastern Turkey in the 1990s, and transgender women, who, as documented in a recent Amnesty report already face considerable prejudice in accessing housing.

Under international law, evictions may be carried out only as a last resort, once all feasible alternatives have been explored in genuine consultation with the affected communities.

To ensure that the Beyoğlu authorities live up to their obligations under international law, write the following officials, asking them to suspend all forced evictions immediately and not to proceed until safeguards consistent with international human rights standards are in place, including a genuine consultation with the residents facing eviction, and that no evictions are carried out without adequate notice and remedies:

Mayor of Beyoğlu
Ahmet Misbah Demircan
Beyoğlu Belediyesi
Şişhane Meydanı
Istanbul – Turkey
Fax: +90 212 252 1100
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Mr Demircan

Minister of Interior
İdris Naim Şahin İçişleri Bakanı
T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı,
Ankara  – Turkey
Fax: +90 312 418 1795
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Minister