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...