Budapest, Istanbul, 13 June 2012: An Istanbul court ruled yesterday in favour of the cancellation of the urban renovation project targeting Sulukule, the oldest Romani settlement in Europe, in an ERRC supported case. The 4th Administrative Court of Istanbul established that the Fatih Municipality’s Sulukule project is “not in the public interest”. There were three separate cases litigated by the Istanbul Chamber of Architects, the Istanbul Chamber of City Planners and the Sulukule Roma Association. The ERRC initiated and supported the Sulukule Roma Association’s case.
The Court found the Municipality’s project to be in violation of Law no. 5366 on the ”Preservation by Renovation and Utilisation by Revitalising of Deteriorated Immovable Historical and Cultural Properties” as well as UNESCO’s criteria on preservation of historical heritage.
The urban renewal project at Sulukule was first launched in 2005 and saw Romani families forced to sell their homes at low prices and move far from the city centre to make way for expensive luxury developments. Almost 3,500 Romani residents previously lived in Sulukule, and saw their homes demolished.