The June 12 election triumph of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party not only signaled a political change. It also heralded the start of evictions within the central, working-class Istanbul neighborhood of Tarlabaşı to make way for an ambitious municipal government project to beautify the city.
The sight of the near-daily evictions leaves many of the Tarlabaşı residents who will not or cannot move -- for financial or other reasons -- feeling as if they are teetering on the edge of a precipice.
Standing outside a local courthouse, 40-year-old Tarlabaşı resident Bahattin Argis vented his anger at city officials for the helter-skelter nature of the evictions. “I am living in absolute uncertainty,” Argis fumed. “Despite being a house owner, I face the possibility of being thrown out of my own house at any moment!”
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Jonathan Lewis is a freelance photojournalist based in Istanbul. Constanze Letsch is a freelance writer also based in Istanbul.