Just when the appeals of the 3000 Rroms of Sulukule (direct descendants of the Rrom community that arrived in Turkey in the 11th Century and settled there in the 15th ) seemed to be getting nowhere and the town authorities had already planned the clearance of the historical district for early February 2008, the “Save Sulukule” petition has reawakened a great deal of attention towards the case.
The local press has contacted us several times and authoritative voices have been raised to speak out against the destruction of this historical site - the oldest and most precious testimony of the Rroms’ arrival in present day Istanbul, where their settlement still exists in the Fatih district. The intervention of the European Roma Rights Centre, together with the petition presented by EveryOne to the Turkish Parliament, the European Parliament and the United Nations, could well prove decisive. ERRC, with its partners in Turkey H.C.A. and EDROM, has decided to support the civil case filed by the Rroms of Sulukule against the Fatih and Istanbul municipalities, and against the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (who approved the project) and ask that the clearance of the area and the rebuilding plan be stopped. ERRC will help finance the lawsuit as part of the European Union’s “Promotion of the Rights of the Rroms in Turkey” project. ERRC’s actions in Turkey are supported by the European Commission, by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Open Society Institute. EveryOne Group will follow the developments of the case very carefully, supporting every intervention and promoting an awareness in the institutions and public of the historical and civil importance of the Sulukule site. In the meantime we can be satisfied with the first concrete result: the clearance of Sulukule, originally planned for early February, has been postponed “until further notice”.
Urgent campaign to save Sulukule (Turkey) and protect the oldest Rrom community in the world.
SIGN NOW: www.everyonegroup.com - click on "Save Sulukule"
EveryOne Group joins the Rrom Association of Sulukule, Union Romani, UNESCO and all the organization that are fighting to protect the rights of the Rroms in this international campaign against the destruction of one of the oldest Rrom communities in the world, and the “modernization” of the area which would destroy a World Heritage Site.
The Sulukule district has been the home of the Rroms community since the Byzantine period and it became the first sedentary Rrom settlement in the world in the 15th Century under the sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, the protagonist of the fall of Constantinople. 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 Istanbul municipality has already carried out invasive interventions in the area, but it has now taken the decision to cancel out all the traces of the settlement, clearing the area of the 3000 Rroms who live there (and therefore the descendents of the Rroms of Constantinople) commencing, in February 2008, the “project for urban renewal”, which foresees the demolition of historical buildings and the construction of a modern district.
Up to now the protests of the Sulukele Roma Culture Development and Solidarity Association have met with no success, nor have the appeals to the local authorities and Turkish Government from the numerous academics of the major Turkish universities.
The project underway, if carried out, will cause the compulsory assimilation of the Sulukule Rroms by the citizens of Istanbul and the destruction of a historical district in which the traditions of the Turkish Rroms have been miraculously preserved for many centuries.
EveryOne Group, together with the Sulukule Roma Culture Development and Solidarity Association, Union Romani, La Voix des Rroms and the organizations for the protection of the rights of the Rroms people appeal to the Istanbul authorities asking them not to persecute a people who should be protected, along with their precious traditions, and to stop the process of destruction of this historical World Heritage Site.
Saving Sulukule and the oldest Rrom community in the world means saving a piece of the history of our world and stopping a serious case of oppression towards the Turkish Rroms. It means handing down an ancient tradition to future generations. But we must act now, by sending emails, postcards and letters of protest. Just copy the text of the petition and add messages for the Turkish Authorities: "No to the destruction of Sulukule", "No to the clearing out of the Rroms of Sulukkule", "The Sulukule district and its innhabitants are the patrimony of history and humanity" etc...
Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Jean (Pipo) Sarguera, Dott. Santino Spinelli, Daniela De Rentiis, Marcel Courthiade, Saimir Mile, Ahmad Rafat, Arsham Parsi, Laura Todisco, Glenys Robinson, Steed Gamero, Fabio Patronelli, Stelian Covaciu, Udila Ciurar, Alessandro Matta, Cristos Papaioannou, Paul Albrecht.
Promoters and Consultants
Centre Culturel Gitan, Pavillons-sous-Bois (France) • Promoters and Consultants • La Voix des Rroms (Paris) • Gypsy Lore Society (Usa) • Group of Migrants & Refugees of Salonica • Union Gypsy • Roma Right Watch • Union Rromsni • Roma Press Center (Budapest) • Opera Nomadi • Associazione Çingeneyiz (Rroms in Turkey) • Romani Yah - Association and Newspaper of Romas from Transcarpathia • Roma Virtual Network • Tamara Deuel (Israel), Holocaust survivor – activist against the discrimination of Rroms • Mercedes Lourdes Frias, Italian Republic Depute (Rifondazione Comunista - Sinistra Europea) • Etudes Tsiganes (Paris) • Alain Reyniers, anthropologist at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium), expert in Rroms, Sinti and Kale cultures • European Roma Information Office • Roma Diplomacy Programme • John Pearson, Secretary, Democratic Socialist Alliance, UK • Gady Castel (Israel), director, director of the Jewish Film Festival "Jewish Eyes" of Tel Aviv, author of documentaries on the Holocaust • Cristina Matricardi, founder of the first Multiethnic kindergarten "Oasis" - Genoa • Maria Eugenia Esparragoza, cultural mediator, member of the Ministerial Intercultural Technical Committee • Professor Matt T. Salo, researcher and publisher, expert in Gypsy culture • Emiliano Laurenzi, giornalista • Paolo Buconi, Yiddish and Klezmer musician • Marius Benta, journalist • Seven Times (Romania) • Ted Coombs, Director of Hilo Art Museum (Holocaust and Genocide art) • Steve Davey, co-director of the Hilo Art Museum (Holocaust and Genocide Art) • Mirjam Pinkhof, survivor of the Shoah, Holocaust heroine who saved 70 Jewish children from the Nazis • Halina Birenbaum, survivor of the Shoah, writer and teacher • Oni Onhaus, Holocaust witness • Manzi Onhaus, Auschwitz survivor • Elisheva Zimet, Auschwitz survivor • Alice Offenbacher, Bergen Belsen survivor• Mirko Bezzecchi, survivor the Samudaripen • Antonia Bezzecchi, survivor the Samudaripen • Hanneli Pick-Goslar, friend of Anne Frank, Holocaust survivor • Michael Petrelis, veteran Human Rights Advocate (Usa) • Stichting Buitenlandse Partner • Professor Saimir Mile, jurist, lecturer in Rromsni, Sinti and Kale culture at the University of Paris (INALCO), General-Secretary of the Centre of Research and Action in France Against all Forms of Racism, member of EveryOne Group • Jean (Pipo) Sarguera, President of the Centre culturel gitan – Paris • Emeritus professor Marcel Courthiade, holder of the chair of Rromsni, Sinti and Kale language and civilization at the University of Paris (INALCO) • Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, Israel • Antonia Arslan, essayist and writer • Caffé Shakerato - Intercultura - Genova • Simona Titti, Caritas Livorno • Gazeta de Sud, Cotidian al oltenilor de pretutindeni (Romania) • Oana Olaru, journalist (Romania) • Fabio Contu, playwright and teacher, Comunità Sant'Egidio, Genova • Allie, Gypsy News, NE, Ohio, United States • Guri Gentian - Group of Migrant&Refugees of Salonica • Associazione Yakaar Italia Senegal • Associazione Secondoprotocollo Onlus • Elisa Arduini, Cristina Monceri, Miriam Bolaffi, Roberto Delponte, Noemi Cabitza, Giorgia Kornisch, Claudia Colombo, Andrea Pompei, Chiara Maffei, Federica Battistini (Members of Secondoprotocollo) • Thèm Romano ONLUS Association