YAVUZ – Slum dwellers starve next to lavish presidential palace

Slum dwellers starve next to lavish presidential palaceResidents living in a shanty town in amlIca, a neighborhood in Ankaraand#39s Yenimahalle district, which looks onto the recently constructed presidential palace, lead a poor life while the palace continues to draw criticism for its lavishness.It is only one boulevard that separates amlIca from the boundaries of the Ataturk Forestry Farm (AO), where the countryand#39s new presidential palace has been constructed, taking up an area of 300,000 square meters.

There are 80 squatter houses in total, of which some are left vacant because they will be demolished as part of urban renewal projects.Speaking to Todayand#39s Zaman, Kubra YozgatlIoIlu, a 26-year-old-mother of three, says her whole family lives on her husbandand#39s unemployment benefits, which he started receiving after being laid off from the company at which he had been working for 15 years.

Maintaining that the family also survives on aid from district authorities and neighbors, YozgatlIoIlu says they pay rent for their home in the shanty settlement. Hoping that her husband will find a new job, YozgatlIoIlu goes on to say that they intend to live in the slum until it is demolished.

Ali zdemir, another amlIca resident, is still self-employed despite being well into his 60s and having retired years ago. Commenting on the issue, he said people who live here are worried about the instability and likelihood of demolition.

On the other hand, each day a new development is published in media outlets revealing further examples of extravagance in the presidential building. Early in December, dailies reported that the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) refused to reveal the cost of the new presidential palace, saying the disclosure of the palaceand#39s price tag might damage the countryand#39s economic interests.

Meanwhile another media report said gold-plated drinking glasses were unveiled at a dinner hosted at the palace by first lady Emine ErdoIan worth around $500 each, more than the monthly minimum wage in Turkey.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman