Istanbul Gentrifies a 1,000-Year-Old Roma Neighborhood

'Ottoman villas' are going up, and the world's largest Roma settlement is moving out - to suburban apartments.

"The Sulukule quarter, in the city's historic district, is undergoing what the local municipality calls "urban transformation," a plan that calls for flattening the entire neighborhood that houses 5,000 people. It would be replaced with 620 "Ottoman style" villas – modern parlance for upscale residences. The project – financed by the municipality and the Turkish government's housing development agency – is to be completed in time for 2010, when the rapidly growing and prospering Istanbul becomes the European Capital of Culture for a year."

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"For centuries – some researchers believe even a millennium – Sulukule has been a predominantly Roma enclave, famous for its musicians and dancers. It even played a bit part in the 1963 James Bond film "From Russia with Love," in which the debonair spy watches an alfresco belly-dancing performance by the city walls."

Full Story: Istanbul gentrifies a 1,000-year-old Roma neighborhood

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