Arson claims under spotlight after huge blaze in Istanbul
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The fire blackened the Istanbul sky for hours and caused heavy financial damage to 68 businesses, mostly textile workshops, in the Zeytinburnu district of the city. DHA photoControversy over a severe Istanbul fire continued with textile workshop owners claiming the incident was sabotage while police sources deny such a possibility.
“They will build shopping malls here, maybe skyscrapers, big buildings maybe. If you keep an eye on here you will see that skyscrapers will be built here on the burnt area in a couple of years,” a workshop owner, Mustafa Küçükkaya, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Küçükkaya said the fire broke out 500 meters away from his workshop and flames reached his workshop in 30 minutes — at 8 a.m..
“It is not possible. This is obvious sabotage and the ones who caused this fire are obvious. I did not have insurance, but I am not asking for help from the state. All I demand is that they figure out who burnt down our years-long progress.” he said.
Another business owner, Alper Barga, who is in the paper manufacturing business, said his business was not burned down in the fire, but that all his goods were damaged and are now useless.
Police sources speaking to the Daily News, on the other hand, said the fire was caused by paint thinner which was stored in the attic of one of the workshops.
The severe fire blackened the Istanbul sky for hours and caused heavy financial damage to 68 businesses in the Zeytinburnu district, according to officials.
The burnt area is heavily comprised of textile and print workshops and owned by a company called Akın Tekstil. Kazım Çelik, an Akın Tekstil official, said aluminum material caused the fire to spread.
“Who wants this to happen? Our workshop is located there as well. Two thousand people work for Akın Tekstil. We have insurance for our renters,” Çelik told the Daily News yesterday.
A fire brigade crew gathered from several of Istanbul’s municipalities and continued firefighting efforts yesterday. The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office has immediately launched an investigation into the incident.
Mayor of Bakırköy Ateş Ünal Erzen also said on April 23 that the incident could considered be sabotage since another fire broke out in the same place about a week before the incident.
“I have also heard [the claim] that the incident was a case of [sabotage] suggested by the fact that another fire broke out in the same place about a week ago,” said Erzen.
Meanwhile, Ekonomist, the weekly Turkish finance and economics magazine recently reported that the burnt area is one of the most valuable areas in Istanbul. The report shows the 74-square-meter plot as the 12th most valuable piece of land in a location seen to be one of the most developing areas, worthy of almost $100 million.