With the start of the new academic year at universities in Turkey, students who couldn’t find a place to reside in due to the insufficient capacity of the dormitories and the very high rent prices, began to sleep in parks in many cities of Turkey to protest. They started a movement with name “Barinamiyoruz Hareketi”, “We can not shelter”, movement. They also have a twitter account for their protests to be heard by a wider audience. From this point on, if I transfer what they shared on that account here, the reasons and demands will be better understood.
The text of the statement below the tweet is as follows by translating in English:
“We’ve stopped looking for houses, bargaining with apartments, looking for a job, and slept on the streets last night. From now on, we sleep on the streets every night, burdening the anger and suffering of millions of young people over whom even a roof is withheld.
We are calling you now. First of all, to all university students who were homeless before and homeless in these days, to the neighborhood residents who we can not be neighbors to, to those who work day and night so that their children can find a place to stay.
To all university solidarities, communities, clubs, non-governmental organizations, political parties, deputies, attorneys; to artists, teachers, shopkeepers, workers, the unemployed, women…
To anyone who has trouble with this order that has left us homeless. To our potential neighbors, to all our people, to millions.
We say to all of you, we call on everyone to take responsibility for the solution, to openly take sides with the students, to embrace us, to grow the movement.
Our request and things to do are very easy and clear.
Don’t just follow us silently, be our eyes, ears, and voice. Join our solidarity/need groups, our communication network. Open your home and cafe to students. We are in the parks of your neighborhood, come. Come with your anger, your energy, your voice on you, your tea, your soup, your food on your hands.
It is our open suggestion and call to everyone. If you can’t come, get ready wherever you are. You too go out with a thermos and a cardigan.
We stay in the parks every night, everyone can do it, you can do tonight too. Maybe one, maybe ten days, spend as many nights outside as you can. Don’t say I’m alone, I’m cold, bored, afraid. Choose not to survive for the rest of your life, but to live and let live today. Stay till morning in front of your door, in the nearest park, in front of the university, in front of the dormitories where they did not accept us. When we say we can’t shelter, if the only option they offer us is in custody, you go out there again.
There are thousands of young people who do not sleep, so you don’t sleep neither.
Let’s scatter in the parks, meet all over the country under the wide sky. Because during the day in the auditorium, at night in the park; we will survive and only in this way will we win. Housing is our right, we will take.”
According to news on tr.sputniknews:
With the announcement of the university placement results, students faced the problem of maximum accommodation. Millions of students across the country have entered a difficult process due to the insufficient capacity of the state dormitories and the rents of private dormitories and residences that have increased with the pandemic. In fact, this situation triggered the #We can’t shelter actions in various cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Kocaeli, where students slept in parks and gardens.
As of 2021, there are a total of 769 state dormitories in Turkey, according to official figures. The bed capacity of these dormitories is 719 thousand 567. The statistics of the Higher Education Institution (YOK) reveal that 7 million 940 thousand 133 students received education at universities in the 2019-2020 academic year in the country.
According to the research conducted by Bahcesehir University Center for Economics and Social Research (BETAM) based on the data pool in the real estate category of sahibinden com (buying and selling web page). The rent increase rate is 50.7 percent in Istanbul, 31.8 percent in Ankara and 30.9 percent in Izmir in one year…
(A student’s comment on the subject)
“The dormitory problem is actually a long-standing issue. This had to be stated now. It has become unusual to go home during the pandemic period. The capacity of state dormitories is quite insufficient. For this reason, some students cannot read and some have to drive 5-6 hours a day, and I am one of them. If my class is at 8 o’clock, I have to get up at 4 o’clock. We are used to being students like this in Turkish conditions. If the state wants to protect its own student, it has to find a solution. The dormitories built are just better than the prison.”
(A student’s comment on the subject)
“Most people in this country are children of workers. It’s hard to maintain a house, even as a civil servant. In this country, let alone eating meat, the weight of vegetables is around 7-8 liras. It is very difficult to live in this country not only as a shelter, but as a human being. We can only breathe in this country. With the 650 liras (student loan in Turkey) given, we can neither shelter nor take food home. If we want to buy a shoe, that’s it. A coat is not less than 300-400 liras.”
(A student’s comment on the subject)
“There is a lot of idle real estate in Turkey. Instead of building these vacant houses as student houses or dormitories, we are opening Turkish house in another country for billions of liras. It means that there is a financial power. Why are you doing something like this instead of spending it on your future?“
Young people from within the movement are also calling out to their friends around the world.
The call to the youth of the world in the video under the tweet is as follows:
“Hello, we are university students from Turkey. After two years, we are returning to our campuses. We became homeless due to the inadequacy of state dormitories and scholarships, the expensiveness of private dormitories and apartments, and we became homeless due to the increasing rent prices during the pandemic period. We set out with requests for lowering the rents of houses and apartments, increasing the capacity of the dormitories, and financial support for student houses. We now use the only option they have left us. Every night, we sleep in parks, on the streets, in front of the university, at the door of the dormitories, and we wake up with our schoolmates. Instead of being alone in the damp, narrow rooms where they condemned us, we gather together under the stars. We know that thousands of students are resisting against this problem in many parts of the world, they organize campaigns and meetings. We invite you to be a voice for our voice, to go out with your pillows, thermos, tea in your hands, to spend the morning on the park benches for a day and to remember us, and to make the agenda in your own press organs. We know that our anger and resistance are common. We share the same steps even when we are miles apart. We look forward to your return and news. We send our greetings to all the youth of the world. Being able to shelter in a humane way is the most basic right of everyone. We will take this right, we will cross the borders between us. With solidarity; “we cannot shelter” movement.”
Most likely the address of the speech is #rentstrike, the movement of university students around the world.
Almost in the ten cities as far as I have observed, many university students are currently spending the night in the parks of Turkey. If you look at the tweet addresses, you will see photos, videos from many places. Like this one:
Apart from the difficulty of their situation, it is difficult to predict how this movement will go on. Staying, sleeping on the street or parks, is not an easy option during the pandemic period. In many parts of the world, young people find it difficult to access education. Those who try to overcome educational inequality, on the other hand, take the path of acting alone individually or starting a movement collectively as we see it here. And they are on a very difficult path to voice their demands right now. I hope their demands will be reciprocated. I also hope that when they finish their schools, they continue their lives with the awareness that the main reason for all these experiences is capitalism.