Duvar English

An Istanbul court has rejected an appeal from a boat selling fish sandwiches (“balık ekmek” in Turkish) in the city’s historic neighborhood of Eminönü, which leaves the boat owners no choice but to evict their stall and relocate their boat.

The court had already rejected appeals made by two other fish boats in the area; so with this ruling, the legal dispute over the issue has been concluded, with all of the three boats soon to have to end their operations.

“Balık ekmek” boats have dwindled over the years, but still the tradition was carried on by three remaining three boats, which had been operating under a municipality tender since 2007.

Following the municipality’s decision to revamp the historic square, the three boat owners were sent a notice saying that their leases would not be renewed and they were asked to evacuate the area by Nov. 1.

Balık ekmek is a sandwich of a filet of fried or grilled fish (typically mackerel, or other similar oily fish), served along with various vegetables, inside a bun of Turkish bread.

The municipality’s move led the balık ekmek boat owners to take the issue to the court, with a court temporarily ordering a halt to the municipality’s move until the finalization of the legal process. And during this appeal process, the boats have continued operating uninterrupted.

The Istanbul 10th Administrative Court later rejected the appeals of the owners of the boat number 1 and 3. And on Dec. 27, the court gave its decision regarding the boat number 2, similarly rejecting the owners’ appeal, Turkish media outlets have reported.

Following this ruling, the lawyers of the municipality will notify the district governor’s office that a stay of execution is no longer in force, which will lead to the evacuation procedures to kick off.