Tarlabaşı is a neighbourhood close to Taksim Square in İstanbul-Beyoğlu that exists since 1535. It was initially populated by non-Mulims in the Ottoman era and got restructured according to Western architecture after a fire caused destruction of the area’s large parts. Jewish, Armenian and Greek craftsmen as well as diplomats used to populate Tarlabaşı after its reconstruction, whereas in the early 90s a migration wave coming from Turkey’s eastern region lead to shape Tarlabaşı into a mostly Kurdish populated spot until today. Lately, it more and more provides cheap housing for Syrian refugees as well as African asylum seekers.
Despite the grievance of inhabitants, historians and human rights associations the Turkish government as well as the Beyoğlu Municipality have decided upon an annihilating construction project worth 500 million Turkish Liras called ‘Tarlabaşı 360’ in 2006, which is not merely a renewal attempt amongst many, but the biggest enterprise of gentrification the city has ever witnessed. ‘Tarlabaşı 360’ will therefore be responsible for eliminating an essential part of Istanbul’s history and also drive a large quantity of families out of their homes to empty Beyoğlu’s valuable part for the real estate business.
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