Fikirtepe is a district northwest of Kadiköy. It is good connected to a central city highway. “Outstanding Bosporus sea and city view luxury homes” a real-estate-firm is marketing currently. In fact the district underwent extreme gentrification and processes of land grab from the former owners of modest houses, that had been dominant there.
The 1999 earthquake revealed the bitter truth about the low quality of materials used in some of the buildings put up in the ‘80s, both in Istanbul and its suburbs. After that, more and more buildings started to get demolished on the grounds that they were not safe, which sounded perfectly plausible at first.
Today, in Fikirtepe, in every small street, there is at least one new building being put up at, meaning that traffic frequently gets jammed with the addition of all the huge trucks. The air becomes polluted with asbestos and all the dust that’s released from these sites while the noise emanating from the construction site dominates the neighborhood. Public spaces such as parks and squares where people can come together are shrinking at an unprecedented rate.
Engin Akgüzel and his neighbors had resisted against the plans to build skyscrapers on their land. The family had migrated from the Eastern Anatolian province Tunceli to Istanbul. They build their house mainly by themselves. When they were confronted with the public confiscation of their property they signed a contract with a construction firm. Their houses were demolished. Until today they promised flats were not delivered. The construction didn’t start yet. The firm claims financial difficulties. Noone feels responsible.
The greedy construction companies with their strong links to the government started using this as a pretext to knock down even perfectly sound buildings in central areas by working with private inspection companies bribed to add faults to their reports so that the way to constructing high-rise buildings offering huge profits could be paved. Over the past 10 years, with new laws making it even more profitable for constructors, landlords and the government, this trend has been shaking the residents of Istanbul more violently than the earthquake had ever done.
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