Istanbul residents spend weekend at home
Ceyhun Kuburlu - ISTANBULIstanbul had an extraordinarily quiet weekend, as millions of its residents decided to stay home after an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suicide bomb attack hit the city’s busiest pedestrian thoroughfare on early March 19, killing five and wounding more than 30.
After the attack on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue, many of the metropolis’ most crowded hubs, such as Bağdat Street on the city’s Asian side and Nişantaşı on its European side, were virtually deserted, as shopping malls across the city witnessed record lows in the number of visitors and revenues at theaters fell more than 50 percent.
Due to the terror risks, many entertainment and sports activities, including a Galatasaray-Fenerbahçe football match, Istanbul public theater plays and concerts, were postponed to future dates.
While Istanbul’s restaurant sector was seriously hit in the immediate aftermath of the attack, businesses which offered delivery services prospered, doubling their revenues as they worked until dawn.
Out-of-home Consumption Suppliers Association Chairman Melih Şahinöz said some restaurants did not even open during the weekend of the attack and it was reported they had seen the worst weekend in history.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, United Brands Association of Turkey (BMD) head Sami Kariyo called on people to unite against terror, saying the most important thing for them was the continuation of life and businesses remaining open. “[...] In order to show that we are not afraid, we have to continue with life. We will keep doing our job with our employees by defeating their fears and concerns. Turkey is a big and powerful country,” Kariyo said.
The BMD head added that in order to support their employees, they went to Taksim Square and made sales alongside them.
Despite concerns by consumers regarding shopping malls, the chairman of Turkish textile firm Kiğılı, Abdullah Kiğılı, said assessments about malls as terror targets were very wrong, adding that malls were the most protected spots after airports.
In the face of the recent terror attack, business visits by the foreign investors and exporters were also being postponed, said Istanbul Read-to-Wear Exporters Union (İHKİB) head Hikmet Tanrıverdi.