Turkish man applies to authorities to register cave as ‘dwelling unit’

Turkish man applies to authorities to register cave as ‘dwelling unit’

BATMAN - Demirören News Agency
Turkish man applies to authorities to register cave as ‘dwelling unit’

A Turkish man living in a historical cave in the ancient district of Hasankeyf in the southeastern province of Batman has applied to the authorities to have the cave officially registered as a dwelling unit.

“I have a television and a refrigerator in my cave. My kitchen items work with electricity,” said Mehmet Tilki, 69, adding he wanted his “unlicensed residential unit” where he was born and grew up, to be registered by the state.

“I would not even change my cave, which stays warm in winter and cool in the summer, for a modern residence unit,” Tilki said.

Indicating he was very “happy” to live in the ancient cave, he said the status of the cave “should be considered” under the same status as “other illegal residences.”

In recent years, the government has passed a series of amnesty laws, which have retroactively legitimized some illegal settlements. In time, these illegal settlements have become integrated with the formal housing market.

Hasankeyf is a 12,000-year-old settlement along the Tigris River. It was declared a natural conservation area by Turkey in 1981, but much of the city and its archeological sites are at risk of being flooded with the completion of the Ilısu Dam.

“The Ilısu dam will leave a part of the old settlements of Hasankeyf underwater, but my cave will not be affected. So, I want my cave, which I use as a residential area, to be registered officially,” Tilki added.

Batman, Hasankeyf, Tigris, ancient site