A house owner in Istanbul wanted to increase the rent of his house from 1,200 TL to 3,000 TL, where a Syrian refugee family resides. After the tenants refused the exorbitant increase, the owner smashed the front door of the house with an axe on the night of Jan. 12. Then he raided the house and smashed other doors and windows.
The Syrian family have been living in the house of the 92-year-old landlord Naim A. in Istanbul's Bayrampaşa district for the last two years. “He [owner] could have killed us if neighbors didn’t come up," they said.
They said that as their door was being smashed by an axe, they started shouting and asking for help. They stated that Naim A. had left the scene upon the arrival of the neighbors.
Esma Ş., who lives with her mother, brother-in-law and four sisters in the house, told about the fearful moments they experienced. She said that they had come to Turkey because of the war in Syria and that her father died three years ago.
“He [landlord] came with an axe because we didn't accept the rent increase. He went in and smashed the doors. We were so scared, we called the police. I thought I was at war in Syria,” she said.
She said that the owner has been asking them to leave the house for the last 10 months. However, she noted that they couldn’t find a house because Turkish landowners are usually hesitant to rent them to Syrians.
“He wants us out [of the house]. That's why he raised the rent. He always comes to our door and bothers us. Last night, he dismantled the water clock. Only my brother-in-law works. Who will pay this rent? My sisters and I are studying. He entered the house, broke the doors of the rooms. If the neighbors hadn't come downstairs, he could have killed us. Hopefully, we will find a home soon. We want help,” she said.
After the incident, Naim A. and his son İhsan A. were detained. They were taken to the court for “violation of residence immunity” and “damage to the property.” While the owner Naim A. was released under judiciary control measures, his son İhsan A. was arrested by the court order.
The moments when Naim A. broke the door with an ax were recorded and shared on social media.