AKP-led Beyoğlu Municipality closes down cafe after speed dating event went viral

Istanbul’s Beyoğlu Municipality on July 25 closed down a cafe in the district after a speed-dating event organized in it went viral on social media. Pro-government media outlets have targeted the cafe in the past days and deemed it “immoral.”

Duvar English

Istanbul’s Beyoğlu Municipality closed the Sueno Cihangir cafe in the district after social media users and pro-government newspapers targeted the speed-dating event that took place inside. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) runs the municipality.

Speaking to online news outlet Medyascope, the owner of the venue stated that there was no "partner swapping" event as described on social media and that the event was organized by a business group renting the cafe for a social gathering.

The owner also expressed the possibility that the Istanbul Governor’s Office may have sent a directive to the municipality.

Speed dating is a social activity where a group of people chat about 5-10 minutes to find potential romantic partners. It aims for each participant to get to know each other quickly and decide whether they want to pursue a potential relationship.

Most of the pro-government newspapers have presented the event as an “immoral” act that “corrupts Turkish youth.” These tabloids often target social events and individuals by circulating the same news at the same time.