Turkish gov't forcibly evicts quake-hit citizens living in tent camps in parks

The government has been evicting quake-hit citizens living in tents set up by NGOs in parks, forcing them to reside at alternate camps set up by the governor's offices. While the victims do not want to leave the parks, members of the left-wing activist group Halkevleri protesting the evictions have been detained by the police in the capital Ankara.

Pelin Akdemir and Şirin Bayık / Gazete Duvar 

Turkish security forces have started to evict earthquake-hit citizens living in tents set up by civil society organizations in parks as the government wants to monopolize aid distribution. 

The tent camp in Sevgi Park in the quake-hit southern province Hatay's Defne district is being moved by gendarmes to a new tent camp designated by the governorate. Earthquake victims are worried about their need for toilets and showers in the new camp. 

Adana Medical Chamber President Selahattin Menteş stated that the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) will continue to provide health services in Sevgi Park. Menteş said, "This is the center of (Hatay's district) Antakya. We have been providing services here since the beginning. The public knows that health services are provided here, so staying here is also beneficial for public health. The state cannot provide health services in an organized manner."

In the capital Ankara, on March 1, Halkevleri (People's Houses) wanted to stage a protest against the decision to evict citizens from Sevgi Park. However, the police prevented Halkevleri members from making a press statement and detained several people, including the chair of the organization. They were released later. 

The tents set up in some parks in the southeastern Diyarbakır have also started to be moved. The citizens are referred to a tent camp set up on the banks of the Tigris River outside the city. 

Some families said that they did not want to go to the designated tent camp on the banks of the Tigris. "First they cut off our electricity to leave us in the cold, then they collected the tents," they told Gazete Duvar. 

An unnamed quake survivor stated that quake victims are not allowed in the tent camps if their houses are determined to be slightly damaged. The survivor said that officials from the governor's office have been threatening citizens staying in the parks.

Government officials offered another earthquake victim to move into her house in exchange for 2,000 Turkish liras and food aid. However, the quake victim said that officials did not conduct a proper damage analysis of her house, and it is not habitable.