Shack owner wins lawsuit against municipality over eviction from Istanbul neighborhood
ISTANBULThe owner of a shack on Istanbul’s Asian side has won his lawsuit against the Kadıköy Municipality over his forced eviction as part of an urban redevelopment project, news website Bianet reported on July 23.
Yüksel Dum’s previous home was in a shanty town located in the Küçükbakkalköy neighborhood, where 250 Roma families lived until 2006.
The area, which is now within the limits of the Ataşehir district, was cleared for construction after a destruction operation supervised by 500 police officers. However, Dum refused to leave the property and has been living since there with his large family of 18 in a makeshift shack, and applied to court regarding the previous demolition, arguing that the municipality demanded 430,000 Turkish Liras for his property and organized a tender anyway after he failed to pay it.
The Istanbul 7th Administrative Court has ruled for a second time that the tender was unlawful, after its first ruling was appealed by the municipality.
Dum’s lawyer said that if the court’s ruling is enforced, he could legally sell his house.
Dum said he was still in possession of the title deed when the municipality sold the area.
“I was born here, I grew up here. They forced the entire neighborhood to exile. My neighbors have lived inside garbage containers for a long time. Some now live in tents, other in the streets,” he said.
“How could I pay them 430,000 liras? We are people who eat daily. We sell flowers, sometimes we collect scrap papers. This place is the future of my kids. If they don’t let me live here, I will sell it myself,” Dum said.
However, Dum and his family will have to wait a little more, as the municipality is set to appeal the case again.
Urban development is accelerating with the government’s incentives, particularly in Istanbul, where entire neighborhoods are being destroyed and rebuild as part of mega-construction projects. Projects in busy neighborhoods such as Tarlabaşı on the European side and Fikirtepe on the Asian side have created particular controversy, with activists seeing them as a method used to evict entire communities to the outskirts of the city.