Kurds comprise majority of Istanbul's homeless people

According to a recent report by the opposition Felicity Party (SP) there are 6 to 8 thousand homeless people living in Istanbul, most of whom are from pre-dominantly Kurdish provinces of Turkey. The report also revealed that 30 percent of homeless people in Istanbul are foreign nationals.

Hacı Bişkin/ DUVAR

The opposition Islamist Felicity Party (SP) released a report on homelessness in Istanbul, which indicated that 6 to 8 thousand people are living on the streets in Turkey's largest city. They generally seek shelter in bus stops, metro stations and abandoned buildings, and the central districts of Fatih, Beyoğlu, Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Beşiktaş and Şişli have the highest number of homeless people.

The Felicity Party said the aim behind the report was for the purpose of contributing to a more livable Istanbul and presenting solutions to the issues of homelessness. 

According to the report, 30 percent of homeless people in Istanbul are foreign nationals, while the majority of the other 70 percent are from the predominantly-Kurdish provinces of the southeastern and eastern regions of Turkey. Many were employed in working-class jobs while others were tradesmen or businessman that had gone bankrupt or who had worked as civil servants in the past. 90 percent of homeless people in Istanbul are men while 10 percent are women. 

The homeless residents of Istanbul who are foreign nationals come from countries like Syria, Morocco, Palestine, and Uzbekistan, and the majority of them want to leave Turkey for Europe. Some of them are awaiting visas that will enable them to travel to European Union countries while others are planning to cross into EU territory illegally. 

The majority of homeless people in Istanbul said that they ended up on the streets due to family problems, and other common issues that led to their homelessness included unemployment and poverty, mental health problems, and drug and alcohol addictions.

Among the solutions proposed in the report included the establishment of a homelessness unit in the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the building of temporary shelters for people living on the street, the expediting of deportation for foreign nationals who have lost their passports, the increase of rehabilitation facilities for people with drug and alcohol problems, and the recognition that homeless people are not a burden but people that can benefit society.