Belly Dancers' Homes Bulldozed For Turkish Condos

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sukru Punduk says his family has lived in Sulukule, Istanbul's Gypsy quarter, for six centuries and he won't be driven out by laptop-carrying, stroller-pushing yuppies.

The city plans to bulldoze Sulukule to make way for 620 townhouses as part of its effort to spruce up the area by 2010, when Istanbul will be the European Capital of Culture.

Punduk, a tom-tom player whose home is on the demolition list, is leading the fight against the redevelopment project. He says it will destroy a community that's produced some of Turkey's best-loved musicians and belly dancers, and price the city's Gypsies, also known as Roma, out of their historic home.

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