Turkish cafe with exotic animals shut down: Activists
An Istanbul cafe that exhibited exotic animals as a side show has been shut down by authorities, the Animal Rights Federation Turkey (HAYTAP) said in a statement on July 6.
The cafe in the city’s Beykoz district had been angrily denounced on social media over the past week for giving its customers not only coffee, tea and waterpipes, but also the option to watch exotic animals.
A one-year-old lion was on display for customers in a bare, narrow area behind a glass wall. There was also a crocodile, horses and exotic birds.
Following reactions on social media who notified authorities over animal abuse and cruelty, Nature Protection and National Parks Directorate officials in Istanbul inspected the cafe on July 4.
The initial report was positive for the owners of the enterprise, as officials said the cafe had all the required permits to keep the animals, as it was designed merely as a display window for the zoo downstairs.
Animal rights activists, who were not satisfied with the initial findings of the authorities, launched an online campaign to shut down the cafe for using enslaved animals to advertise a cafe with commercial intentions.
HAYTAP announced on July 6 that the campaign succeeded.
“The permit of ‘the cafe with a lion’ has been cancelled. The company was given today by the Istanbul Governor’s Office the official notice to shut down the cafe, after the Forestry Ministry’s sensible application,” the group said in the statement, thanking the authorities.
Cengiz Şıklaroğlu, a convicted mafia figure who owns the enterprise, had claimed that there was legally nothing wrong with the cafe.
“Our official tourism permits stipulate that we are obliged to open a cafe near the zoo. We only made it a little bit luxurious [by mixing parts of the zoo with the cafe],” he had said.