Izmir’s Ildırı village is located in the once ancient Roman city of Erythrai and was declared as an archaeological area in 1985. Consequently, villagers’ inability to make the slightest repair or renovation to their homes, due to the threat of severe punishments, has seen them complain en masse
The locals of Ildırı village in İzmir’s Çeşme district cannot even drive a nail in their houses, as their village has been declared an ancient archaeological site. Having experienced trouble with officials for a long time over finding another settlement area for their village, the villagers complain that newly married couples have to find houses in other places because no new homes are able to be built in the village.
Ildırı is located on the ancient Roman city of Erythrai, and was declared as an archaeological area by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board in 1985. The village has a population of around 100 people, who have a number of grievances. In addition to their inability to build anything new or make even small restorations, they also complain that their fields have been expropriated.
Speaking to Anatolia Agency, one of the locals, Muharrem Mete, complained over the fact that restructuring was banned in the village. “We cannot even build a house as we face severe punishments if we do so,” he said.
Mete said that after long running efforts, he was able to get permission to make a small restoration in his house and he was now also trying for make restoration in his son’s house. He said his two sons had moved to the city of İzmir because of the situation.
“Even though I had permission for restoration, a suit was filed against me and I had to pay a high fine. The court gave me a suspended two-year jail term. If I am convicted within five years, I will serve this two-year sentence. If I find a leak in my roof, what will I do? It is already leaking at the moment. This archaeological site decision devastated all of us. We were told that we would be given a new place in return for our field but there has been no development about this,” he said.
Another villager, 60-year-old Asım Arpacı, said his fields had been confiscated as they were in the archaeological site. He said they made a living through farming but no longer had any fields because of the confiscation. “How will we survive? We are anxious that our fields will be sold one day. The village cannot develop. We cannot even repair our houses. There are people who are being tried in the high criminal court just because they built a window shade in front of their house,” Arpacı said.
Fisherman Vedat Timuçin complained that the village port was insufficient, and that their demand for a new port was refused by the authorities because of the archeological situation. “More than half of the villagers earn a living with fishing. We don’t have a port to protect our boats in stormy weather. Fights occur because of boat places in the port,” Timuçin said.