French hospital struggling for life in Turkey

French hospital struggling for life in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
French hospital struggling for life in Turkey

Officials of La Paix, or “Peace,” Hospital, which is located in Istanbul’s Mecidiyeköy district say the hospital is already suffering from skyscrapers built in the area. DAILY NEWS photos, Emrah GÜREL

A historic French psychiatric hospital in Istanbul’s Mecidiyeköy district is struggling for survival against bureaucratic hurdles that prevent it from obtaining a title deed and development schemes that threaten to fill the region with high-rise buildings.

“A proposal was submitted to us several years ago to vacate the estate. They want to build skyscrapers here,” Sister Maria, the nun who runs La Paix Psychiatric Hospital, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The hospital is having problems obtaining a title deed, and the government keeps creating bureaucratic obstacles rather than lending support, Sister Maria said.

“We have been here to provide our friendship and our services to Turkey for 150 years. We are trying to serve [the people] here without discriminating on the basis of religion, language or race.”

The hospital is faring much worse than other minority institutions in Turkey in terms of its status, Erdal Doğan, who represents the hospital in court, told the Daily News.

Historic hospital

“A hospital that has been serving the people of this country for 154 years is regarded as non-existent where bureaucratic procedures are concerned, and its very existence goes unrecognized,” he said.

“[Authorities] keep putting new hurdles before [the hospital] every time it has to deal with bureaucratic procedures, let alone [conferring] a legal identity upon it or providing a license,” he said.
Sister Maria said they also suffer from the growing number of skyscrapers in the district. This is a psychiatric hospital. The surroundings have to be open and serene for the patients’ repose,”
The inability to resolve the hospital’s current problems is highly thought-provoking at a time when efforts are also underway to frame a new constitution for Turkey, Doğan added.

“This hospital’s problems could be brought to a resolution through a legal arrangement and a license could be granted, provided the

will exists to do it. They are openly telling the hospital’s administration that they are here, but not here.

This amounts to legal murder,” Doğan said.

The only French hospital left standing in Istanbul, La Paix, or “Peace,” Hospital was built at the time of the Crimean War in the mid-19th century. Sultan Abdülmecid granted the estate via an official decree to a group of Roman Catholic nuns known as the Filles de la Charité (Daughters of Charity), who were helping to treat wounded troops in the war.