Three weeks ago the bright yellow concrete barrier blocks were installed over night. A few days later they were spray-painted with the ” Tarlabaşı” development logo and the construction company “Gap İnșaat” to the side. The workmen started changing the layout of the road and now concrete footings are going in place along the front.
There is only one functioning building left along one complete section of the boulevard front; even then it’s a hotel that comes from a side-street. Other than that most of the buildings are shells now, or “Beirut” as one resident referred to it, shaking his head in dismay at his own comparison with a city that he’d only ever seen on television during the wars that Lebanon is known for.
Whilst the residents have moved, or been moved, out. New people have come in to the frontage; dealers and sex-workers who are new to the area and who appear able to work freely there, whilst residents who have attempted to gather fire wood have been turned away – forced to leave the wood they had already gathered behind.
The workers aren’t sure. The demolition starts this week says one; no next week says another, the new year my friends contributes a third worker. They may not know when the demolition will start; but it doesn’t appear to be long before the buildings will start to come down on the district and community of Tarlabaşı.