An unpleasant surprise for the Amsterdam entrepreneur Salih Ozcan when he returned from vacation last week. A We Are Here group has squatted its business premises in Westpoort. Today he tried to start a conversation with the squatters, but it turned out differently than planned.
Ozcan says he needs his business for his car company. He had first rented the space, but that turned out to be ‘a bad tenant’ who had started a weed plantation in it. After the building was vacated in January, the entrepreneur had it refurbished. On the contrary, he wanted to involve it: “I am a small entrepreneur who simply uses his premises and because of them, I now miss my business.”
Ozcan wanted to convey that message today to the group of mostly refused asylum seekers who now camp with at least forty people in the business premises on the Abberdaan. AT5 went with him.
There is a large mountain of waste in front of the entrance. “This is crazy for words,” Ozcan sighs. “Only rats and mice come here.”
As soon as the entrepreneur wants to enter the room, the flame breaks out. A number of the squatters rushed to Ozcan and told them to leave the building immediately: “Otherwise we call the police.”
That shoots the Amsterdammer in the wrong throat :. “Do I have to leave my own building ?!”
Once outside, the heated discussion continues. Before the situation really escalates and before the police arrive, the bewildered Ozcan decides to drip off. “It’s a very bad feeling. I have no words for it at all. I can understand those people somewhat, but they don’t understand me at all. Unbelievable. That this is possible in such a country. “
The police said that they could not yet respond specifically to this case, but that the evacuation would not be urgent. On average, an owner has to wait six weeks for an evacuation procedure. Ozcan has meanwhile hired a lawyer.