Urban renewal erodes farming in the Hevsel Gardens
Hacı Sular, who is engaged in farming in Hevsel Gardens, said that he was able to sell his products directly in Sur without a middleman in the past, but now there is no place to sell his products.
For thousands of years, Hevsel Gardens have been giving life to their surroundings. The Tigris River flows on one side of the Hevsel Gardens while the city wall is towering up in all its splendour on the other side. A green paradise stretches between the Amed city walls and the Tigris River. The gardens create a peaceful world with hundreds of bird and frog sounds.
A farmer named Hacı Sular, 66, has been dealing with Hevsel Gardens and never got out of here for years. He built a small room in his garden and feeds many animals including rabbits, sheep, chickens, turkeys, geese and dogs. "I have lived in these gardens since my childhood. I had to live in the city for a while. I had a lot of diseases over there. But currently I have been living in the garden again for a long time and I have no health problems. I only have diabetes. I am at peace in Hevsel gardens," Sular said.
VEGETABLES MAKE NO MONEY
"Hevsel Gardens have been a product warehouse for Amed for centuries. In July 2015, Hevsel Gardens entered the list of UNESCO Cultural Heritage. Hevsel Gardens cover an area of 700 hectares. I have been here for 66 years. We used to earn a good income from the products we cultivated, but now that is not the case. Unfortunately, it does not even cover the expenses we make. Nobody provides us any support. Farming in the Hevsel Gardens is now in a very difficult situation," he noted.
"Now we do not plant vegetables because we cannot make money out of them. Last year, corn was planted here, but it did not bring enough money. Hevsel is a very large area. People used to plant watermelons. The grown watermelons were so big that it was difficult to remove them from the ground. However, nowadays nobody can grow anything," he said.
NO PLACE TO SELL PRODUCTS
Sular remarked that people buy vegetables and fruits with hormones grown in greenhouses with chemical products instead of naturally grown vegetables and fruits. "The vegetables we grow are far superior to those with hormones in terms of both taste and size. We cannot plant products for the reasons I have mentioned. Because it makes no sense to make a loss,” he noted.
Sular pointed to the damage done to the city wall by the state in the Suriçi area: "After the city wall was demolished, both the area where we would sell the products was removed and our house was demolished. We used to collect our products and sell them in the Suriçi without any middleman. Today, however, there is no place where we can sell the products. Moreover, our homes were located in that area, but the government evicted us. They gave us only 120 thousand Turkish liras in return. They have demolished our houses and built super expensive houses for rich people.”