Turkish municipality evicts quake victims living in tents to accommodate police

Malatya's Battalgazi District Municipality has evicted earthquake victims from collective tents to accommodate police officers. Survivors were transferred to a tent set up by philanthropists but were denied entry upon arrival.

Didem Barut / Gazete Duvar

The Battalgazi District Municipality of Malatya province has relocated earthquake victims from their collective tents to make space for police officers. The controversial decision, which took effect on April 14, stirred a huge reaction among many residents of the earthquake-stricken region.

The Feb. 6 earthquakes have already claimed the lives of thousands of people and left millions homeless. The residents had been seeking refuge in temporary shelters provided by the NGOs and local government agencies, including collective tents and containers set up in various locations throughout the region. 

After the 250-bed tent set up by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, the 100-bed tent set up by Battalgazi Municipality on İnönü Street was also evacuated. 

An earthquake survivor who stayed in the Battalgazi Municipality's tent but was suddenly asked to leave with their belongings said, "Municipality employees said the riot police will use the tents. Women and children are miserable. People were forced to find a tent to put their heads in, but they were kicked out from there too.” 

The survivor added that they were thrown on the streets in the rain and mud and added that “Our belongings were thrown into pickup trucks in the rain like garbage bags. We said there is nowhere to take them but we could not get them to listen.” The survivors stated that the police also did not come and the tents have been staying empty. 

The survivors were directed to a tent with 300 beds that was set up by philanthropists. However, the group was denied entry upon arrival, leaving them stranded and without shelter. 

On April 5, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has announced that 2 million 650 thousand quake-victims was living in tents.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)