Seasonal Roma workers brave worsening living conditions

23 May 2015
Today's Zaman

'Today's Zaman' reports that for decades, the Turkish state ignored its millions of Roma citizens, with the media following suit. The Roma have long complained that the stereotypes TV shows perpetuate are inappropriate, as they show Roma neighborhoods as places where there is always dancing on the streets or fights taking places.

The AK Party government launched a Roma initiative in late 2009, vowing to address issues such as a lack of housing, unemployment, discrimination and low education levels within the Roma community. Back then, the government abolished a 1934 law that allowed the Interior Ministry to expel Roma people from Turkey as it deems necessary, referring to this group as “gypsies” in its text. The government, however, failed to deliver such basic pledges as providing enough housing for the Roma or offering them equal rights. The Roma community can only benefit from the region's lucrative agro-business as temporary workers, since they own no land. Among many other issues, Turkey's Roma community is plagued by everyday concerns and problems as inequality in education

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