Growing debt and a house which will never be yours

The “TOKI affair”

The never-ending problems of Kadifekale neighborhood in ?zmir began with the removal of the neighborhood residents to TOK? (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) houses in Uzundere district on the excuse of ‘landslide risk’ in the area. Right holder Kadifekale residents don’t know what to do regarding their growing debt which was caused by the compulsion imposed on them to buy new TOK? houses in exchange for their demolished houses in the neighborhood which has been evacuated within the scope of so-called ‘urban transformation’ project.

The neighborhood which mainly consisted of migrated Kurdish people was moved to another neighborhood, Uzundere, as of 2010 since when right holders have been struggling with different kinds of problems and debts they face.

Right holder Kadifekale residents are also facing the risk of losing their houses in Uzundere neighborhood. In accordance with the agreement made between ?zmir Municipality and right holders, residents each month have to pay a high price which is determined by Turkish Statistics Institute (TU?K). As right holders get trapped by debt with each passing year, those who cannot make their partial payments for three months could face the risk of staying out on streets.

Speaking to ANF about the problems lived by right holders, Kadifekale resident Mehmet Gergin says that they cannot even take a relieved sleep because of the problems increasing more and more with each passing day. Gergin tells the followings; “The municipality put a price of 8,500 TL on my house in Kadifekale but the house I bought in TOK? building values 25, 800 TL. In accordance with the payment schedule, I could pay only 4,500 TL so far, 140 TL each month. This debt, if the process continues in this way, will not end until the day I die. When I went to see ?zmir Mayor Aziz Kocao?lu to discuss the issue, he calculated our debts and astonishedly said me that ‘even our grandchildren won’t be able to get through this debt’. What can I do now while even the mayor speaks these words?”

Another Kadifekale resident Mesut Özdemir is also one of the victims of great debts as he could pay only 4,000 TL of his 26,000 TL debt so far. “Our debts are increasing, not falling down. How could these people ever pay these debts? The municipality cheated the people”, says Özdemir to tell the current situation of the people discharged from their houses.

One other Kadifekale resident is 77 year-old Mehmet Kara who could pay only one sixth of his debt within the last two years. Kara complains about the circumstances imposed on them, saying that he has been struggling with a new problem every day since he was forced to leave his house in Kadifekale where- he says- he was quite comfortable and happy.

72 year-old Ümmü ?anl?, who faces the risk of being left homeless for not affording to pay partial payments, expresses her situation as follows; “We are a family with seven members and none of us is working now. I couldn’t pay my installments for nearly one year now. The municipality says that we will be thrown out of the house but we have no money to make the payments. After demolishing our house in Kadifekale, they are now threatening us with throwing in the street.”

On the other hand, Kadifekale residents in TOK? buildings voice many complaints about the buildings which –they say- are made up of construction products with poor quality. Among the main complaints about TOK? buildings are life-threatening elevators, water leak in houses, lack of a shopping center and an environmental planning in the area.


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