The hospitality culture of the 2010 European Capital of Culture is in sight!

As a country that has been waiting for so many years to be admitted into the European Union, Turkey is perfectly fulfilling its gendarmerie mission at the gate of the huge prison confined by European frontiers. Migrants who try to reach Europe through Turkey are kept under custody in so-called “guest houses/return centres” which are in effect detention centres where seemingly no criterion of human rights, law or justice applies and where migrants are detained under exceptionally bad conditions. One of the biggest of these detention centres is the Kumkapı Guest House which is located in the historical peninsula of Istanbul; the city which has received the title of 2010 European Capital of Culture.

While Turkey contributes to European cultural heritage by cleaning the façades of historical buildings in Istanbul, simultaneously it supports European anti-immigration politics by creating the cruelest conditions for migrants who want to reach Europe. Turkey is a country which boasts of its hospitality, yet the function and use of so-called “guest houses” are a reflection of the European hypocrisy which deprives human beings of humane living conditions while cherishing culture and art.

The elitist joy of discriminatory culture now includes a festival -the “Open Doors Festival” organized as part of the Culture capital festivities, taking place from 22nd to 30th of May- which brings the opportunity to visit historically and architecturally important buildings in Istanbul that are usually closed to the public.

As Migrant Solidarity Network, we contend that everybody has unconditionally the right to freedom of movement and freedom to live where s/he wants. We ask together with Migreurop, a Paris-based activist network fighting against migrant camps across Europe, that the doors of the Kumkapı Guest House also be opened once and for all. We claim that “if the churches, mosques and historical buildings that you so proudly exhibit are part of your culture, then so are the detention centres!”

We invite you to the event that we are organizing to render visible the reality of migrants on Friday, May 28th 2010, at 7.15 pm.

Everybody who wants to live in a world without borders, without nations and without exiles is welcome to join us.

Time / Venue: May 28 2010, Friday
at 19:00 Beyazıt Tramway station
at 19:15 in front of the Kumkapı Foreigners Guesthouse
(The old building of “Bölge İdare Mahkemesi Vergi Mahkemesi Binası”)
Address: Muhsinehatun Mahallesi, Büyük Kömürcü Sk, 1-23, 34126 Kumkapı

Migrant Solidarity Network (Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı)