World Bulletin/News Desk
Gezi Park, which is located in İstanbul's Taksim Square and has been the subject of nationwide protests, was reopened on Monday, yet store owners in the area say there has been a significant fall in their sales due to the protests.
Store owners and street vendors have complained about the negative effects of the protests on their sales and called on protesters to put an end to the protests.
Gezi Park was closed to the public on June 15 after weeks of protests. The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has since worked to beautify the park, enlarging the 58,000-square-meter area by 8,000 square meters and planting 146 trees and 120,000 flowering plants.
Tahsin Kazdal, an employee at Çetin Exchange Office, said the protests led to a significant drop in the number of tourists coming to Taksim.
“This is an area that cannot live without tourists. For about one-and-a-half months, we have opened and closed the exchange office without any transactions. Why do people prefer to have a holiday in a foreign country? Or why don't they prefer to have their holiday with a Zulu tribe? The reason for their preference is safety,” he said.
Hikmet Yenigül, an ice cream seller in Taksim, also said there has been a 80 percent fall in his sales.
“When incidents broke out yesterday [on Monday], we had to close our store at 6 p.m. There was nothing else to do. These protests need to stop now. Gezi Park has already been opened. What else do they want?” he asked.
A woman who sells national lottery tickets and requested to remain anonymous said her sales have fallen by 60 percent due to the protests.
“Since there are protests during the evening hours, I cannot sell any tickets. The other day when police used pressurized water to disperse the protesters, my tickets were damaged,” she said.
Murat Ezra, an employee at Kavi Café Fastfood Restaurant in Taksim, said there are fewer tourists in Taksim due to the protests and their sales have fallen by around 80 percent.
Ezra also said employees at his workplace were also affected by the pepper gas used by the police against the demonstrators and they all want an end to the protests.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Temmuz 2013, 10:50