//ed.note: digital version unavailable//
(Milliyet Newspaper, 3 September 2016)
What's a pachyderm shopkeeper to do?
In Manısa, the shopkeepers in the Beyazfil (White Elephant)
shopping plaza have opened a law suit againt the building's
owner, who bought the site in 2014 and has raised rents 1500% (!).
In response, the owner has filed suit to have the shopkeepers
expelled. While all this is going on, the owner has shut three
of the four entrances to the building, forcing the shopkeepers
to make sales essentially in a cage as the amazed residents of
Manisa look on.
The Beyazfil Market was purchased for 30.4 million TL (about
10M USD) in 2014 and now the new owners have raised rents
by 1500%. In consequence, only 15 of the 28 shops are still
open. Two shopkeepers won a court battle to reduce the rent but
the owner, Teksan Brode, opened a lawsuit to expell the other
shops. Also, water to the building has been cut off.
Another kind of elephant cage. The owner is nice, though.
The remaining shopkeepers are waiting for a court date on 19
September. One of them, İsmet Çolak, stated that "they want
to build a hotel and shopping center here. They have that right
but they can't use these oppresive tactics." AKP (ruling party)
parliamentarian Selçuk Özdağ is acting as a mediator between
the shopkeepers and the firm.
Previously, thousands of people came and went to the Beyazfil
each day but now it's nearly deserted. Vehbi Karaduman, a
florist who has had his shop there for 47 years, lamented that
"These days I'm carrying water from the mosque to keep the
flowers alive but I'm too old for that. The firm shut the place
and didn't even give us an explanation."