A wrecking crew from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality arrived at the Zeynep Mutlu Education Foundation’s Kemer Schools complex in Kemerburgaz at 5 a.m. on Sunday and declared that the school buildings were illegal and would be demolished.
The crew, consisting of 500 municipal patrol officers and 150 members of the gendarmerie, helped school tenants move the furniture and other materials out to the schoolyard and into the gymnasium before the machines went to work.
The school’s pool was left untouched because it was full of water and the demolition of the gymnasium was postponed for 15 days because of the belongings stored inside.
Teachers, parents and students rushed to the school when they heard the news and expressed their opinions about the act. Some parents said they were worried about how they would find a new school this close to the start of the semester, while others criticized the municipality for choosing this school to demolish when there are so many other illegal buildings in Istanbul.
Ata Özer, the Istanbul provincial manager of education, said the demolition was not related to the Governorship of Istanbul, but to the metropolitan municipality and the Eyüp Municipality, the district where Kemerburgaz is located.
Özer said he would do everything in his power to make sure the students’ education continues.
The Zeynep Mutlu Education Foundation released a statement calling the demolition “an illegal act” and criticized the procedure followed for not giving school representatives time to go to the courts and tell their side of the story.
According to the statement, the foundation received notification of the demolition at a time that was too late for them to apply to appeal the decision.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality also made a statement on the matter, declaring that the school premises were built illegally and were located near water resources. The statement also said the foundation had lost all of its legal cases against Eyüp on the matter.