Court rules against new Sulukule villas

Court rules against new Sulukule villas

Elif İnce İSTANBUL / Radikal
Court rules against new Sulukule villas

These photos show a juxtaposition of the Sulukule neighborhood before and after the construction of the new villas, which were built as part of the restoration. DHA photo

A transformation project in Istanbul’s predominantly Roma neighborhood of Sulukule is “not beneficial to the public,” Istanbul’s Fourth Administrative Court ruled yesterday, adding that construction of new villas “must be stopped.”

The ruling comes after a four-year court case launched by the Istanbul Architects Board, Urban Planning Board and the Sulukule Roma Association.

All the new buildings in Sulukule are illegal and must be torn down, Mücella Yapıcı of the Architects Board said in the wake of the ruling. “Justice when it comes late is not justice,” she added.

“We believe that the ruling is very important and sets a precedent, however, part of us mourns because Sulukule was torn down before the court case was even completed and this led to a legal tragedy,” she said.



Istanbul Urban Planning Board President Tayfun Kahraman also said the decision was positive but came too late, adding that it was unlikely that the new buildings would be bulldozed.

“The same schematic project will be passed as if it’s brand new, and they’ll just continue with the construction. Most of the previous decision in similar cases end up like this,” said Kahraman.

Sulukule Roma Association lawyer Hilal Kuey said the project needed to be stopped immediately.

“There needs to be a new project which is in line with the law and public interest,” she said. “People who have been harmed must be compensated.”

Many have criticized the Sulukule redevelopment, saying it has pushed out longstanding Roma communities in the interests of building more up-market dwellings.