The building where Mesopotamia Cultural Center has been carrying out its activities for the last 18 years is facing eviction. One of the last remnants of the multi-cultural and multi-lingual art environment of Beyoğlu is now being handed over to the Municipality by the District Governorate.
Speaking to the Speak up Platform, MKM artist Hüseyin İldan (Genim), one of the founders of Koma Çiya band, said that although they had previously won the announced renovation tenders for the building, the decisions have been cancelled. Indicating that they lost the most recent tender, İldan stated that they were told to evict the building on account of being “squatters”.
TENDERS AWARDED TO THEM HAVE BEEN CANCELLED
Reminding that they are engaged in productions and trainings about the Kurdish culture and arts, İldan asserted that they were constantly facing pressure as they constitute an alternative platform. Noting that even though many places have been closed down by Statutory Decrees, İldan stated that MKM still managed to survive somehow and he emphasized that the tenants were being displaced using different methods such as introducing amendments to the case law on the General Directorate of Foundations or by way of turning the neighborhood into a place of unearned income by increasing the rents.
İldan also stated that the rent for the MKM building located in Tarlabaşı neighborhood, which belongs to the General Directorate of Foundations, was increased significantly two years ago and that a tender was announced in 2019 for the renovation of the building, and even though they were awarded the tender, the decision got cancelled later on.
CALL FOR SOLIDARITY TO GENERAL PUBLIC
İldan said “Today they are evicting us claiming that we are squatters in the building. We call on the general public to show solidarity with us on this issue” and invited the general public to demonstrate solidarity.
Speaking to Mesopotamia News Agency, MKM employee Ferit Elalmış said that the Directorate of Foundations sent them a notification to evacuate the building 4 months ago, however, the notification was signed by a musician who had no signing authority. Elalmış continued his remarks as follows: “We informed the Directorate of Foundations that a person who has no signing authority cannot sign the notification. Yet, the Directorate of Foundations neglected this and ordered us to evacuate the building today, or they would get us evicted forcibly”. Talking about the explanation provided to him by the Directorate of Foundations, Elalmış said: “Apparently, the Municipality of Beyoğlu wants the building. The building has been transferred to Beyoğlu District Governorate. So, the District Governorate wants immediate evacuation of the building and the building will be allocated to Beyoğlu Municipality”.
‘WE WILL TAKE LEGAL ACTION’
Elalmış also said “We will take our archives and the necessary furniture for now, but we will bring the issue to court and file a lawsuit”.