Fortune-telling cafes against law, says expert
The existence of fortune-telling cafes, which are coffee shops where all kinds of fortune-telling arts are performed, such as Turkish coffee to hand and tarot card reading, is against the law, and their owners should be punished, suggests a lawyer.
According to a lawyer, Tayfun Üzülmez, speaking to Demirören News Agency, the number of these cafes is increasing day by day, especially in Istanbul’s Bakırköy and Beyoğlu districts. The fee for fortune telling differs from 100 to 300 Turkish Liras ($6 to $17), depending on the cafe.
Üzülmez stated that these coffee shops should be penalized over Article No. 677 of the law. According to the lawyer, the article is about prohibiting and abolishing dervish lodges and assigning mystical names, and also includes “sentencing people who practice fortune-telling and witchcraft with at least three months in prison.”
Üzülmez also stated that the cafes advertising their fortune-telling services could be the subject of a criminal case on the charge of “unfair competition.”
Elaborating on one of the lawsuits regarding a fortune-telling cafe in the southern province of Adana, a so-called fortune teller was sentenced to two months and 18 days in prison, and a fine of 375 liras ($21) was given, the lawyer explained.
Üzülmez underlined that the control of security forces and the criminal complaints of citizens are crucial to prevent the spread of fortune-telling cafes.
Murat Berkut, the owner of a fortune-telling cafe, said they have been doing fortune telling for the last 25 years, adding that 80 percent of their clients are women, with some celebrities also seeking their services.
Another coffee shop owner stated their clients perceive fortune-telling as “an inexpensive therapy.”
According to the opinions of those clients, while some state that they go to the fortune-telling coffee shops to hear something hopeful for the future, others say that fortune tellers say the same things to everyone.