The Sur district of Diyarbakır (Amed) in Turkey forms an essential part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As Ercan Ayboga from the Platform ‘No to the Destruction of Sur’ has noted: “The World Heritage Site of Diyarbakir consists of an old fortress and the adjacent Hevsel Gardens, which lie between the fortress and the Tigris River. With its multilingual, multi-cultural and multi-layered character, the fortified old city hosts 600 cultural properties from numerous Eastern and Western civilizations”.
However, the site was bombed by Turkish military forces and more than 22,000 people were forced to flee from Sur during these attacks in 2016. In total, 3,569 buildings were destroyed and many people from Sur remain homeless because of this.
Entrances to some neighborhoods still remain prohibited years later
Although the state promised to provide housing to all the affected people of Sur after its actions, this has never happened. Only 837 families were provided new houses using credits. Other families, however, are still waiting four years on. However, new hotels and workplaces are now scheduled to be built where many of these affected people used to live and their houses were destroyed.
With the threat of gentrification, it is very likely that poor people in Sur will not be able to afford living in the area. The cultural heritage of Sur is also threatened by these plans.