250 stores in Ankara’s Ottoman Public Bazaar burn down
Cihan PhotosSome 250 stores in Ankara’s Ottoman Public Bazaar have burned to the ground in a fire of unknown origin.
The fire, which rapidly spread across the Ottoman bazaar in the Keçiören district of Turkey’s capital, started at 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 20.
Fire brigade crews were immediately dispatched to the scene of the incident, however flames quickly engulfed the compound as the stores inside the bazaar were built side-by-side.
The fire was accompanied by small explosions, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported, while a person who ran inside the bazaar was taken out by security officials.
In the meantime, riot police closed side roads leading to the bazaar, Cihan News Agency said.
Tradesmen quoted by Cihan defined the origins of the fire as “shady” and questioned how the fire spread so quickly despite the fact that three security officials were on duty inside the bazaar.
“No one knows how it burned down but the fire wouldn’t spread as quickly from an electrical contact,” a shopkeeper named Haydar Yeşilyurt said.
Yeşilyurt also claimed the material damages to store owners could near $345 million.
“No one knows how the fire broke out. It happened in an instant. It is shady,” a shop owner whose identity was not disclosed was quoted as saying.
The Ottoman Public Bazaar operated as the “Russian Bazaar” until 1994, when Turgut Altınok from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was elected the district mayor of Keçiören. Altınok later changed the bazaar’s name to the “Ottoman” bazaar, which now operates with 252 stores according to its website.