Within the centre of Istanbul is the Tarlabaşı district, an area that prior to subsequent waves of forced expulsions of it’s ethnic Greek and Armenian population was home until the 1960s to a prosperous community of craftsmen and skilled working class, occupying Levantine-style homes in the centre of the city. Following the pogroms of 1955 the district acquired a not underserved reputation as a centre for crime, a place to be avoided, a district of criminals and thieves.
The accepted narrative that Tarlabaşı has no community and is crime ridden is however far from the truth. Tarlabaşı is now a community for many of Turkey’s minority groups, both ethnically and socially. African immigrants waiting to get to Europe, Roma evicted from their homes in redevelopment projects elsewhere, Kurds forced from the South East in the battles between the PKK and the military, transsexuals on the margins of Turkish society.
This project covers the periods both prior to the evictions, when many residents believed they would be able to withstand the pressure for redevelopment in the district, the evictions and the eventual impact of those still ongoing evictions on the residents. It documents the people who occupy Tarlabaşı, the communities who live there, the ethnic and social groups who intermingle with one another and the once grand homes they live in.
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