An Easy Touch

Those who wanclers arouncl the Grancl Bazaar, those who knows d1e Grancl Bazaar from the outside, perceive the riclmess of this place in an exaggeratecl way. True, in the bazaar, d1ere are many wealthy tradesman as well. The econom.ic cr.isis, which staıteel in 1988 anel got worse each year, also affectecl d1e Bazaar, moreover, tourists stopped coming to d1e Bazaar because of some international reasons. When the mistakes of our tourism policy was acideel on top of this, the economic level of the tourists visiting me bazaar was at the lowest. Because of the low prices on vacation packages, European tourists were able to go on vacations, that we cannot afford to go, in our countıy with their unemployment insurance, however, naturally, they were not doing any shopping. Besides, since they staıtecl a system calleel “all inclusive” vacations, the touıists were not stepping a foot out of the hotels they came to. The fact that me rents were veıy high anel me abunclance of expenses left d1e tradesmen of the bazaar in a veıy clifficult situation. Since the popularit:y of the Bazaar never  lessened, the first place on which the eyes were set, especially by Eminönü mun.icipalit:y, was d1e Grand Bazaar. This was the most important resource in areler to fill me buclget gaps. Before the 2004 elections, d1e mayor was Lütfi Kibiroglu. He also attended to me iftar clinner given by our magazine. I remember him taking d1e Grancl Bazaar magazine to his hanels anel saying: ” But I am not in d1is magazine! ” meaning there were not any pictures of him in d1e magazine. His practices were demonstratecl his point of view on the Grand Bazaar. He was asking high amounts of money from each store under the name of and working license. Also, the tolls he collecteel topped it all.

These tolls were completely illegal ane.! only his own wish. The Grand Bazaar traclesmen, who never opposeel to the government or any of its agencies in their histoıy, were in a very clifficult s.ituation. He was giving a ‘donation receipt’ to the tradesmen whose money he took anel repeating this action eveıy month. After long effoıts, only foıty two of us did not give d1is money but we sufferecl a lot. At d1e enel, he lost the elections with a smail vote difference aldhough  he was so sure of himself. With the new municipality, the elections of the Bazaar Foundation were done veıy often. The new mayor anel our presiclent were both from Malatya. Moreover, they were friencls. However, no changes were macle. “Better the Devi! you know dun the Angel you clon’t” was proven right one more time. The buclget to meet the expenses of the Bazaar was completely formeel by the clevotions and effort5 of the Bazaar aclministrators. With the money coming from the sponsors and activities, eveıyone was tıying to make things work. On the December of 2004, when the new municipality tolcl us, ” From now on, for aJJ of your sponsors anel activities, you will neecl our approval and we will have our own share”, d1ey proved how little they knew us. On top of that, he wanted us to pay the tolls of the previous year. Y es, the rule did not change; the Bazaar was an easy touch. But, d1e Grand Bazaar was sick, anel nobocly realizecl that.

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