Animal bazaars waiting for retirement pension bonus for boom in sales
Burak Coşan – ISTANBUL
Sacrificial beasts are sold across Turkey in numerous bazaars ahead of the Eid al-Adha, which begins Aug. 11. One of these bazaars is located in Istanbul’s Göztepe neighborhood in the Kadıköy district. Daily Hürriyet went to see the bazaar firsthand, observing that many of the sellers are already happy about the sales. But, they said, that they are expecting a surge in the sales once the government deposits the retirement pension bonus of more than 12 million retired people.
One of the sellers who brought 50 cattle from the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane to the Göztepe animal bazaar said that he expected “hypermobility” in the bazaar starting on Aug. 8. “This is because the pension bonus of the retired will be deposited. And the retired people who receive their checks will come to the sacrificial bazaar. We think that we will be left with no animal that is unsold this year,” Muammer Öztürk told daily Hürriyet.
“I have been coming to the same [sacrificial animal] bazaar for the last five years. And compared to the previous years, the sales are better this year. I have so far sold 80 percent of the animals that I have brought [from Gümüşhane],” Öztürk said.
Many sellers, including Öztürk, believe that the good numbers in sales this year are partly due to the fact that they have not increased the prices of the sacrificial animals much compared with previous years – despite the increase in the breeding and raising animal costs to them.
“The kilogram sale price of the live animals range between 21–25 Turkish Liras [$3.8–$4.5]. We were selling them almost at the same prices last year,” Öztürk said.
Ali Yavaşoğlu, who brought 24 cattle from the eastern province of Bingöl, said that he was able to sell only seven of the animals as of Aug. 6.
“My situation is a bit different compared with the general situation in the bazaar because I could not sell a lot [of animals]. The animal feed and other costs are constantly on the rise. In fact, we need to sell the kilogram of the live animal at 26 liras [$4.7]. But we can sell them at most for 25 liras,” Yavaşoğlu said.
“The majority of the animals will be sold in the last two to three days [before Eid al-Adha]. If we [sellers] are left with any animals, it is impossible to take them back [to our hometowns]. Because I have spent 7,000 liras ($1,271) on transportation to bring the animals from Bingöl,” he said.
Emrullah Meral, who brought 42 sacrificial animals from Gümüşhane, is one of the sellers who made the most sales in the bazaar and is left with only four cattle.
“The prices are more or less the same in all of the bazaars, but I am one of the lucky ones. There is a situation that creates a distress in the bazaar and that is there is no slaughterhouse. When there is no slaughterhouse [in the bazaar], citizens might go to another place [to buy the animals],” Meral said.
Meral similarly said that he expects a further boom in the sales in the upcoming days – both due to the fact that only a short period of time is left until the start of Eid al-Adha and the pensioners receiving their bonuses on Aug. 8-9.
“There is, of course, no rule that every retired person will buy a sacrificial animal with this bonus money, but those who will buy will be enough [in numbers] to buy the so-far unsold animals in the bazaars. We had thought that the sacrificial animal sales would not have been good this year due to financial problems, but we were wrong. People did not give up on sacrificing animals. That no price increase was made for the animals [this year] also played a big part in this,” Meral said.
Mürsel Yıldırım, who brought 43 cattle to the bazaar in Göztepe from the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, similarly said that he was happy about the sales this year. Yıldırım had 11 animals left unsold as of Aug. 6.
“Some of the citizens are waiting until the last day to buy sacrificial animals. It seems that there will be a lot of mobility in the last days,” Yıldırım said.
Although less in numbers compared with cattle, one can also find smaller animals in the animal bazaars – such as sheep and goat. The kilogram price of the small animals in the bazaars is on average around 22-23 liras, although one may find it as low as 19 liras.
The Eid al-Adha holiday this year is scheduled for Aug. 11 (Sunday) through Aug. 14 (Wednesday).
Every year, before the Eid al-Adha starts, the government deposits a bonus for the retired in Turkey. It had previously announced that the bonus would be given on Aug. 8-9.