A few hundred meters from the bustling life of Istiklal Caddesi shopping hub in the heart of Istanbul, lies the proud but marginalized neighbourhood of Tarlabasi
The massive gentrification process taking place in Tarlabasi is to attract tourists. Now the state wants the marginalized people who live here to move away. But many of them have nowhere to go.
For hundreds of years, Tarlabasi´s narrow, winding streets were a peaceful home to non-Muslim diplomats and later Greek merchants. But as religious tensions rose through the mid-20th century, the Turkish government launched organised pogroms targeting non-Muslims in the city. In the ensuing violence, homes and shops were looted and destroyed. Over the following decades, those abandoned buildings were gradually filled by Gypsies known locally as “Roman”, and by refugees fleeing the Turkish-Kurdish civil war in the late 1980s
Tarlabasi´s central location has in recent years made it into prime revenue-generating real estate, and despite objections from residents, architects, and human rights groups, the neighbourhood is being demolished. At stake is Tarlabasi’s diverse and vital culture