Controversy rises in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar project
A restoration project planned for Istanbul’s 550-year-old iconic Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) for 2013 has created a controversy between shopkeepers and the local municipality over the project’s costs. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIKA restoration project planned for Istanbul’s 550-year-old iconic Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) has created a controversy between shopkeepers and the local municipality over the project’s costs.
The Bazaar will undergo restoration work starting in early 2013, Fatih district Mayor Mustafa Demir announced yesterday, but shopkeepers expected to cover 90 percent of the project’s budget are worried.
“This is the biggest restoration project of the world. In its 550-year-old history the Grand Bazaar will be renovated for the first time. We, as the municipality, will support the project by funding 20 million Turkish Liras,” Demir said in a press conference yesterday.
The restoration project was included in the Disaster Law after an agreement was reached between the Fatih Municipality and the Ministery of Environment and Urban Affairs, Demir said. According to the mayor, 98 percent of the large market belongs to 3,900 private shop owners who will have to pay an amount determined by their individual shop’s square meter measurement, according to the mayor. The project will be run by the ministry in cooperation with the Kapalı Çarşı Bussiness Owners’ Association.
However, shopkeepers seem cautious about the project.
Ahmet Kesin, a jewelry store owner, said he was not against the restoration but had doubts about the method of how the project is being run.
“An association is running all bazaar restoration budget work, which personally I do not trust, there are more than 3,000 shops here, how can they represent us all,” Kesin told the Daily News.
Nevertheless shop owners share Mayor Demir’s problem detections. Infrastructure system, air conditioning and power distribution are the most complained about topics among the Bazaar abiders.
The Bazaar is expected to undergo restoration in the beginning of 2013.