Published: May 6, 2014

Darac?k Street in the Beyo?lu District of Istanbul, where a trans individual was murdered two weeks ago, is once again in the spotlight; this time due to claims of forcible “shut-downs.”

Istanbul Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transvestite Transsexual Solidarity Association (Istanbul LGBTT) has claimed that building doors in the street where trans individuals were staying have been welded shut. Beyo?lu District Chief of Police, Ünal Alt?ner, has denied the claim; whereas Director of Municipal Police, Ahmet Öztürk, disclosed that the Beyo?lu Police already had a request for unoccupied buildings to be closed down and that they were acting on that request.

Murder on Darac?k Street

On the night of April 20th, gunshots were heard on Darac?k Street. Ça?la Joker and her friend, Nalan, were shot by the 17-year-old H.T.; Ça?la was killed and Nalan was badly wounded. The murder suspect, H.T., was soon caught and arrested. The building, in which the murder was committed, was sealed shut.

Joint Operation Two Weeks Later

Approximately two weeks later, the Beyo?lu Police and Municipal Police Departments started to act on abandoned and rundown buildings located on Darac?k Street. According to Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet’s reporter, Kaz?m Ataer, property owners’ demands and the murder were the catalyst for the shutdowns.

Beyo?lu Chief of Police: “The Property Owner Got the Welding Done”

Beyo?lu Chief of Police, Alt?ner, made the following statement on the subject: “I am only tidying up the area.” Alt?ner, who says that they have only cleared and shut down three buildings so far, went on: “If we had not gone ahead and clamped down on the subject, those buildings would crumble. We cleared all of them. The property owners called their lawyers. They declared that they [the people staying there] did not have any lease or tenancy agreements. We also shut down and sealed a coffee-house in the same place. I am only tidying up the area. I am not shutting down a workplace or residence of a person illegally. And it was the property owner who got the welding done on the doors.”

“Not the only place…”

“We have an ongoing effort towards rundown and abandoned buildings in many areas, not only in Darac?k Street. There was another abandoned building in Dolmabahçe, for instance, squatted by paint thinner sniffers, which we sealed and shut down. “

“We were only able to enter with masks”

We were only able to enter the mentioned buildings with our breathing masks on. There are drug dealers and paint thinner sniffers inside the buildings. I saw two women, I asked ‘are you tenants?’ and they answered ‘it was empty so we came in.’ After the murder, the property owners submitted petitions to secure their assets.

“Wait and see what else I will close down.”

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