Tuesday’s bombing that left 10 dead and 15 wounded in the heart of Istanbul seems likely to be a blow to Turkey’s crucial tourism industry.
Shopkeepers interviewed following the attack expressed worries about a drop in visitors:
Muhammad Mulazim runs a shop selling sweets known as Turkish delight less than half a mile from the site of the bombing:
“In the winter, we get fewer tourists anyway, but if this was in the summer, it would have been a big problem, we would have had even more casualties.
“Today our economy is good, and the people who did this attack do not want this, they do not want to see Turkey be a powerful nation.
“I don’t think in the long term this will affect our tourism though. The people who come here are often coming for the second or third time, they know Turkey is a nice society, and they want to visit again.”
Omer Karagoz manages a juice and shawarma shop near the Blue Mosque.
He spoke while taking a sandwich order from an Arab couple:
“Of course when people die, we are sad about it, and on top of that, tourists are leaving now. It’s not a good situation for us.
“There was not very good business before this bombing today, since the problems with Syria and Russia, and now things will get even worse.”
Mehmet, owner of a gift shop near the bombing (he withheld his last name for privacy reasons):
“This is a really big problem. This place where my shop is, it’s between the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar.
“This will be worse for the Turkish economy. The people who did this, they are thinking, if we do this, tourists will leave at first for a short time, and if they do it five or 10 times more, it will destroy the tourism here.
“In general, political problems, like with Russia, do not affect tourism too much. People from Russia, for example keep coming here, they say they don’t care what their government says about Turkey, they want to visit. But attacks like this one, they are more dangerous.”
Farooq is a special correspondent.