"2,000 People Laid-off in Beyoğlu"

More than 2,000 people in Beyoğlu (Istanbul) are left jobless because the municipality had all tables of street cafés removed. "Beyoğlu was significantly harmed by the operation", Karasu from the Beyoğlu Recreation Areas Association said.

Local shop keepers in the popular district of Beyoğlu on Istanbul's European side are in a difficult economic situation after the Beyoğlu Municipality removed all chairs and tables from the streets in a 34-day operation that started on 20 July 2011. Tables and chairs of recreation locations, cafés and restaurants were removed in raids of the municipal police. Thereupon, the number of visitors to the area dropped quickly and hence more than 2,000 people are left without a job now.

The shop keepers and restaurant owners say that especially at the weekends they make a loss of more than 70 percent after the operation which forced them to lay-off their personnel.

"2,000 people lost their jobs. If the situation continues like this, about 10,000 people are in danger to be made redundant", the Head of the Beyoğlu Recreation Areas Association (BEYDER), Tahir Berrak Karasu, told bianet.

"Imagine that the number of visitors coming to Beyoğlu at the weekend drops from two million to one million. Who is not going to be affected? We estimate the total loss of one month to exceed TL 20 million (€ 10 million) since the beginning of the municipality operation. Not only recreation locations are affected by the loss but also second and third parties. This includes the soup vendor as well as the bagel seller and even the Mango store on Istiklal Avenue".

Uncertainty is the biggest problem

"Beyoğlu was severely harmed. It is like the story of the cicada and the ant; trying to survive with what was put aside during the summer. But now the tea vendor at the corner does not know what to do and how to get through the winter. We wanted to talk to the municipality but did not get any results. All they say is 'Work goes on'. They do not give us a date for us to anticipate the future; thus nobody knows what to do. This is creating a very unfair situation", Karasu explained.

BEYDER Board Chair Taylan Konar said that they collected 20,000 signatures so far in a signature campaign against the application. He believes they will get a total of 100,000 signatures and declared to submit the signature lists to the Turkish Parliament.

"The municipality does not give us any information about how the process functions. Is the Beyoğlu Mayor responsible for this? We are not sure about that yet".

Uncertainty is the biggest problem not only for the shop keepers but also for the visitors. A new regulation has to be found for Beyoğlu before more harm is going to be done. (IC/VK)



İstanbul - BIA News Center

24 August 2011, Wednesday