Karaköy Fishmarket: the demolition of fun

Written by Sabine Küper on . Posted in Full Moon, Urban Chant

 

The Fishmarket in Karaköy has been one of this magic places in Istanbul. Just beside the Galata Bridge, you would dive into an atmosphere of healthy good food, a smell of freshness, wonderful colors and very friendly, modest sellers never charging too much. A Solmon for 5 Dollars, can you imagine? A Kilogram of seasonal fish was even cheaper. Streetsellers would sell fresh squeezed orange juice, some fishermen would offer grilled fresh fish. Whenever I felt down, Karaköy Fish market was a spot to gain lot’s of positive energy.

Since the meyhane, the restaurants to eat Meze (small dishes of fish, stuffed vegetables, and other delicous things)  and drink Rakı, got expensive, noisy and posh in most parts of Beyoğlu, people started to go to Akın Balık. Akın opened a kind of pirate restaurant some time back in the 2000th. He had some tables and old chairs and was serving fish and Beer cans which would be wrapped in Paper. In the beginning only insiders would drop by, it was wonderful, unexpensive, classical meyhane music low volumed, a great view with a very pleasent customer profile. Normal people, no boosters, the ones liking the old meyhane culture of İstanbul.Since the place got popular and was even mentioned in trip advisor other people joined and opened pirate restaurants, tea gardens.  Akın opened a second place, Kemal’ın yeri, more up beside the Golden Horn. That one was my favourite at the end, because it was still undiscovered by the crowd.

The mucipiality of Beyoğlu send their demolition teams in the early hours ofMonday 22th of June. They destyroyed the fishmarket and all the restraurants and cafés. Scrap metal collectors filled their carts with whatever they could find, while municipal police stood on as city workers erected a framework of beams around a section of the demolition zone. Uprooted trees and broken flowerpots dotted the vast pile of debris, while a lone, elderly fisherman tried his luck with the waters as a ferry ambled under the Galata Bridge. “This place will be much more beautiful,” said one municipal policeman, who claimed that the area would soon be home to a city park. A number of nearby shopkeepers  expressed pleasure at the city municipality’s decision to get rid of the illegal cafés. But in general people are shocked. It was a spot where people from all social classes and religous backgrounds would be peacefully side by side. Some would drink alcohol, others would sit with soft drinks at the Fish place just beside the seaside. What a loss!

Some people see it as a gesture after the elections, that didn’t bring full power to the govermental party AKP. A kind of revenge harming fun zones of people most probably not voting for them. And a gesture of destroying alcohol serving places in the Ramadan. They destroyed everything though, not everyone was serving drinks. Most probably it is a try to shift the ownership of the spaces. All shopowners would have bought licenses, if the mucipialiyt would have let them. Akın has a license, but he can’t be sure, if they let him continue. Most probably either the municipiality itself or some AKP-close people will get permissions for making business there. The problem is: they have no style. On the other side of the Galata bridge they just destroyd a square that had been grren and nice. Now it is paved and covered with some ugly stone benches. There is a shop of the muncipiality selling cheap bread, who needs it there? It is a kind of ideological funded landgrabbing, while the occupation of the space by Akın and the others was more creating a new attractive outgoing spot lacking legalization. So why didn’t the muncipiality try to structure and legalize Karaköy Fishmarket? The moon and the stars may know this secret.
Music in the Video: Kargo: Yıldızların altında (under the stars) is an old classic meyhane-song. A meyhane is place to drink alcohol (mey=alcohol).

The text:

my heart is drunk
under stars
oh what nice to make love
under stars

i wont burn even if my heart does
even if death takes me
even if my eyes closes
under stars

a river with blue light
a swing in the shadow
what if u and me stay
under stars

i wont burn even if my heart does
even if death takes me
even if my eyes closes
under stars

neither grief nor lament
under stars
pebbles will become diamond
under stars

i wont burn even if my heart does
even if death takes me
even if my eyes closes
under stars

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