'Sex shop' closed in Turkey

February 24, 2007

Locals in Kayseri were outraged by the opening of a sex shop in the middle of downtown. The Kayseri Meliksah Municipality has reached a decision to close the shop after the reaction, and an improper leasing contract was given as the reason to shut down the store.

Kayseri, an industrial center in Turkey, was the scene of heated debate during the last few days, creating a stir in local headlines. What has angered many locals was the opening of a shop in the middle of downtown Kayseri.

No ordinary store, this is the city's first "sex shop." A group of locals supported the opening of such a store, while others thought it should be shut down. The Kayseri Meliksah Municipality announced last week that the store will be sealed and its permit would be canceled due to an improper leasing contract, and more specifically for missing a notary attestation.

The owner of "Kayseri Fantasy World Erotic Sex Shop," Sezai Karakaya, is seeking legal assistance and heading to court.

Supply and demand:

Karakaya returned to Kayseri from Germany after 19 years and his story is interesting indeed. Karakaya opened a café when he returned home but was soon disappointed.

He then opened a toy store. In the meantime, he tried to sell sex toys in that shop as well. When he realized that he could make good money out of the sex toy business, Karakaya rolled up his sleeves and prepared to open a sex shop.

He did market research in both Istanbul and in Ankara for a year and then went into business. Although the community's reaction has made the going difficult, Karakaya is determined not to give up on his store.

"Why should I give up on a business that makes me good money?" he asks. "We need these as much as we need bread and water. I earn good money here and since Kayseri is a place that believes in a liberal, free market economy, this business should be respected. I am under pressure and am being threatened. However, I will not shut it down. This is my store and it is bringing me money," Karakaya stressed.

According to Karakaya, women are showing interest in his sex shop as much as men and this is why he employs both men and women. Since the moment the store opened, they have been busy. "Kayseri needs more sex shops to meet the need," he says, emphasizing that he is a pioneer in this business.

Associations give support

The Kayseri Craftsmen and Artisans Association head Mehmet Ali Çevrim said the issue is not as it seems. "If it is being shut down, there must be a good reason," says Çevrim, adding that he doesn't know the reason why the sex shop was shut down. However, any store that is obeying the law in Kayseri is able to work freely, he added. Kayseri Chamber of Commerce representatives say the issue is on their agenda and the chamber believes it is not right to close the place down.


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