11 years ago, the family Alabalik moved from their village in Eastern Turkey, Malatya, to Istanbul, full of hope of better At this time they found in Tarlabasi, which is home of the most disadvantaged segment of the population, a little 30 sq. Meters apartment big enough for both of them. The family of 5 now, with Gizem 2 years old, Hazel, five years old and Yarmur 9 years old, live still all together there, sleeping and eating in the same room. But recently they received a phone call from the owner, asking them to leave in a month time. Despite the fact that Tarlabasi is an architectural heritage, the whole area was declared in 2005 as a renewal project, which in reality it‘s a complete make-over involving tearing down the old structures and evicting the people living there, as they are one of the poorest, like the family Alabalik. The kids grew up there, they have their friends, their schools, their social bonds.
Fatos, the mother, concedes that gentrification will eventually cleanse the area of its dereliction and seediness but she adds that the same could have been achieved through a genuine renewal program that sought to restore - rather than redevelop - the locality to its earlier glory.
The way this renewal project in Tarlabasi has been handled showed the ugliest side of state-led gentrification with its massive lack of social injustice.
The family Alabaki luckily found for few more months another little room in the same area. They know it this is just a race against the clock that they will lose. Soon or later.