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IndyMedia UK, 30 August 2008

Call to action to raise awareness of and support for the Roma people of Sulukule district in Istanbul, Turkey, which is currently being demolished to make way for gentrification.

As I write this, bulldozers raze the partially evacuated district of Sulukule, the home of the Roma community since the Byzantine period, and the first sedentary Roma settlement in the world in the 15th Century. The houses, the streets, the entire district of Sulukule are parts of an extraordinary monument that represents an age and an ancient people: a precious and priceless World Heritage Site.

The demolition work will continue in the days ahead. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality plans to construct 620 new houses, a hotel and a culture and entertainment center in the Sulukule neighborhood.

The houses, the streets, and the entire district of Sulukule are parts of an extraordinary monument that represents an age and an ancient people: a precious and priceless World Heritage Site that must not be lost to the rampant and ruthless march of “progress”!

It may be too late to save Sulukule, but we still need to raise awareness and support for the Roma peoples of Istanbul. In today’s climate of rapid gentrification, theis community may be unable to find a permanent settlement in which to celebrate their rich cultural heritage. We must agaitate and inform the public to demand that the rights of the Roma people are protected.

Several projects are in the formative stages, including a documentary of the demolition and a benefit musical compilation release of traditional Roma musics and music from concerned artists worldwide.

Most urgently we need people with video equipment (need not be professional) who are presently in Istanbul or willing to arrive quickly to take footage of the demolition. We have some resources for editing and release, but would appreciate any assistence offered in these areas as well. A fluent Turkish/English translator would also be of immense help.

Anyone who would like to contribute to these projects, or suggest others, please contact us immediately via email at dustcastles@gmail.com

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