Istanbul Stories 3

Sahin and Batuhan, father & son, were just sitting down to have their breakfast on a sunny Sunday morning in Gezi Park.

The scene reminded me of classical paintings describing beautiful peaceful summer days. Sahin and Batuhan however have been sleeping rough in Gezi Park for a month at the time of our encounter. All their belongings are stuffed in two black bin bags, which they hide in the shrubbery trees under which they sleep.

Sahin tells us, that a string of unfortunate events has led them to be in this position, starting with his wife's death, problems with the construction company he worked for, an accident and the subsequent loss of his job.

Originally from Adana, they moved to Izmir and then to Istanbul. Now they are relying mostly on hand-outs and Batuhan's income from selling water in the park. They feel safe in the park, but strongly advise me not to come to the park at night on my own.

Sahin and Batuhan's shelter.

Sahin and Batuhan's shelter.