Tarlabaşı is a neighborhood in the Beyoğlu district in Istanbul, Turkey. The main ethnic groups are internally displaced Kurdish people who came in the 1990s from Southeast Turkey, and the Roma. Tarlabaşı is also home to other migrants from northern and middle Anatolia, who arrived as economic migrants in the 1970’s. There are also many illegal migrants or asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and various African countries, and a community of “socially displaced” transgender and sex workers living in the area. It is considered one of the most problematic settlements in Istanbul, serving as a center of illegal activities and violence, such as drug dealing, pick pocketing, mafia, prostitution, etc.
Poverty, unemployment, low level of education, lack of access to basic municipal or state services such as infrastructure, security and health, discrimination and marginalization affect the lives of Tarlabaşı residents. In addition to the lack of basic services, Tarlabaşı also lacks physical spaces for social and cultural facilities. Children, youth and women have very limited (if any) access to basic services even in the immediate surroundings, such as on Taksim-İstiklal Street which is Istanbul’s main cultural and social hub.
Tarlabaşı Community Center (TTM) works to support the neediest segments of the community and provide services to improve the quality of their lives. TTM has been engaging in rights based activities since 2006 to serve the community, with an aim to support and serve mainly women and children excluded from social life and live in poverty and deprivation of their fundamental rights. TTM provides social, psychological and educational support services, social and cultural programs for children (music, art, etc.) and literacy training for women (in cooperation with ACEV).
EMpower’s 2nd grant to TTM for “Youth Lives” furthers efforts seed funded by EMpower to develop youth programming (14-24) and deliver health and sexual/reproductive rights training, helping youth make more informed choices about their lives.
Primary Location: Tarlabasi
Funded Since: 2015
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