Crowds barbecuing on coast in Istanbul’s Yeşilköy and Florya anger locals
Cansu Şimşek – ISTANBUL
PHOTO: İbrahim YurtbayTension has risen in the upscale Istanbul neighborhoods of Yeşilköy and Florya, after crowds mostly of Syrian refugees have in recent days been flocking to the coast to barbecue.
Residents of these neighborhoods in the Bakırköy district have been complaining about the noise and the trash left behind by crowds barbecuing on the coast.
“In the past we used to complain of domestic tourists who came for just a couple of hours on the weekends. Now we crave for those days because the coast is this way seven days a week. Dirtiness, smoke and smell,” said local man Çakır Tok.
“Real estate prices have also fallen. No one wants to see this view when they lift their curtain. The problem has been growing every day for the last two years,” he added.
Local municipal police officers are also complaining about the situation, while saying their authorities are limited.
“Barbecues are not forbidden but they are lighting fires to such an extent that it threatens the green spaces. You can see at least 100 barbecues on the green fields at any one time, as well as nargiles [water pipes]. Because we don’t speak the same language, we cannot make the necessary warnings. For example, the sea has been dirty in the recent period and people shouldn’t swim in it, but we cannot convey this to people,” one municipal police officer said.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is taking measures to clean coastal areas in many spots but their teams are falling short, particularly in the summer months.
Bakırköy Mayor Bülent Kerimoğlu said the locals are not reacting against the Syrians, but stressed that the coasts should be used in a cleaner way.
“We see those coastlines not as of our own private lands, but as spaces that all people can utilize. Our resentment is not against Syrian refugees, but against all who misuse these coastlines, throw trash, and disturb the locals, as well as those who come from other districts but do not pay attention to cleanliness,” Kerimoğlu said.