'I would stay at home, if I had a home'

The coronavirus pandemic has hit harder on homeless people and people living in the streets.

Ömer Faruk Berkan is 60 and has been living on the streets for 15 years as a result of a journey bringing him from wealth to bankruptcy.  "Oh, yes, - he says - I would stay at home, but which home?"

Ömer Faruk Berkan summarizes his story from wealth to bankruptcy like this: "It is the story of a difficult journey."

While everyone stays at home because of the coronavirus, Berkan is looking for a piece of bread, a cigarette and a warm place to take shelter.

Berkan says that he is the son of the owner of the tire factory Kemal Berkan, and adds that he has been living on the street for 15 years.

He says that he lived a happy life for a while, owned a market. But his life turned upside down when his parents passed away and his wife committed suicide. He recalls that none of the people who were around him when he was rich has been around him after his life changed, and adds that even his sister and brother who lived in Istanbul had a hard time. "Sabancı's bank confiscated all our assets many years ago."

Berkan tells that he went by without money for months, could not get washed. "You have to constantly ask other people for something. If you can find bread, you eat, if you don't you starve. You constantly ask for a cigarette, you cannot wash for months. You can sleep wherever you find place, no fuss about warm and cold."

Which home?

The coronavirus pandemic has worsened things for the people living in the streets. "Which home?" Berkan asks, referring to the "Stay at home" campaign to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He points out that this system brings people up and down in no time and that all he wants is to live like a human being. Berkan says that it is very painful to fall into a situation where you depend on other people: "Humanity is over. Life is not like before, there is no sense of solidarity anymore. It's an animal age. This capitalist world leaves people in a horrible place, it ends humanity. If you have money, if you have an identity, you are someone. The main virus is this system and this system will cause human extinction."