Police, locals clash over demolition in Ankara

Police, locals clash over demolition in Ankara

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Police, locals clash over demolition in Ankara

Locals in Ankara’s Dikmen Valley clashed with the police, when the latter attempted to demolish illegally built homes as part of an urban transformation project. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Riot police clashed with locals attempting to stop the demolition of their illegally built homes in the Dikmen Valley yesterday, as part of an urban transformation plan for Ankara. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against squatters, who threw rocks at security forces after municipality workers cleared inhabitants from a house in preparation for demolition.

Squatters lit bonfires and erected barricades to prevent the police from advancing. After almost four hours of unrest they managed to stop security forces by pelting them with fireworks.

Only one house was demolished before workers left the site due to growing unrest. Two protestors were injured by rubber bullets, while one resident of the demolished house was detained.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Levent Gök and Adil Kurt of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) travelled to the valley in a bid to defuse tensions.

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek tweeted that the unlicensed homes in Dikmen would be “demolished in a very SHORT time.” He warned that legal action would be taken against an unnamed lawmaker who, he said, “provoked” the squatters. Previously Gökçek claimed that not even court rulings could stop the demolition plan from going forward.