Update on the Plight of the Horses of the Prince Islands

March 23, 2020, Prince’s Islands, Istanbul

  • Deaths

Over 300-horses have died because of the poor conditions of the glanders-related quarantine.. Deaths occurred within the 90-day period, mainly due to intestinal knotting and infection of the hooves and legs due lack of movement. 

Locked up in stables for a "quarantine," horses die in dozens in Büyükada, Istanbul.
Locked up in stables for a “quarantine,” horses die in dozens in Büyükada, Istanbul.

Following its end on March 19th, it was immediately extended for another three months, albeit without the use of the term quarantine this time.  “A 3-month halt to the use of carriages as a means of transportation,” the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul (IBB).  passed a decision on their General Assembly. 

  • No where to go and Dubious Future

Following vigourous campaingning and implicit and open threats, and caving into the financial straints of being left jobless and with the expenses of horse-caring,  the great majority of horse and carriage owners have sold their horses to the IBB.

The Municipality now holds 1200 horses, but has no place to take them. They continue to be kept in small tents, tied up to 50-cm ropes.  

On March 16th, they passed a legislation that allowed “institutions, organizations, and individuals” to adopt them at no charge.  This is concerning, as “individuals” may well include smugglers of the illicit horse meat market.  The “liberated” horses of Antalya have all disappeared into the unknown, while those in Izmir are now being used in laboratories in the production of intravenous fluids. 

Despite appeals from locals and an online campaign, the Governorship of Istanbul is refusing to provide a paddock area for the horses to at least roam freely. (Click to sign the petition)

  • Urban Development Plans for the Islands

In the meantime, since the ban, the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul has held two meetings on a “Transitional Development Plan” for the Prince Islands.

Furthermore, another legislation was passed on March 16th, – and published in the Official Gazette, where preservation laws on “Protected Sites” (SIT Alanlari). The definition of  “trees of heritage” was broadened -weaking their protection,- and previously protected sites were opened to “development in the areas of tourism, mining and all kinds of economic activity.”

Within the same legislation, the oversight and control of Protected Sites was passed on to the Office of the President.

  • Forced Exodus from the Islands

A total of 35 horses remain belonging to the islanders, who have refused to surrender their cherished companion. These islanders have made repeated appeals and request to the municipality, as well the the governor and sub-governor’s office to allow them to keep the horses with them in the island.  All appeals have been either ignored or rejected.  All officials seem set on demolishing the stables in which the horses still live. This is said to take place on Wednesday, March 25th. The horses have nowhere to go.

The government is trying to coerce these last remaining horse owners to surrender their horses to the Municipality, which will mean their transfer to the horrendous conditions of the quarantine in Buyukada. This is a death sentence.

Please help us raise awareness of the plight of the horses in the Prince Islands, and of the pressure exerted on and the violation of rights commited against the islanders and horses in the Prince Islands.

For further info, inquiries:

Melis Kanik, Buyukada Resident  melis.kanik@gmail.com

Twitter: @AATlari

Facebook:  #AdalarinAtlari


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