A new report on shopping malls shows that the number of malls in Turkey skyrocketed in 15 years from 14 to 411, and 43 new malls are to be opened in 2019. İstanbul is in the lead with 118 malls, followed by the capital city Ankara with 39.
The number of shopping malls was 14 in 2002 when the ruling AKP party came to power. It went up to 145 in 2007 and has reached 411 by 2018, while it is reported that nearly $50 billion was invested in shopping malls.
Though people’s expenses in food, clothing, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and electronic instruments have increased, the increase in the number of shopping malls is based upon a fundamental shift in the structure of retailing rather than people’s retail expenses.
The traditional structure, which consisted of shopping units scattered around residential areas, has been replaced by retail monopolies, especially by supermarkets, and the share of this new structure called “organised retail” has neared 40 percent this way, which caused a concentration of capital.
However, a few scratches on the surface of the issue reveals a huge system built for exploitation and profit concealed behind the shiny floors and fancy displays cramped up in colossal buildings. Turkey’s Shopping Malls and Investors Association had announced earlier that the 2017 turnovers of the shopping malls in Turkey were 110 billion Turkish Lira (more than $18 billion), and that they expected the turnovers to reach 125 billion lira (more than $20 billion) by the end of 2018.
The very same report also explains that nearly 520,000 people work in shopping malls – of course, without mentioning anything about the conditions of those 520,000 people. The most recent example was in June, when people were forced to work for inhumane hours in harsh conditions at a shopping mall in İstanbul, even though it was declared holidays. Shopping malls are also widely known to be one of the places with the worst working conditions in Turkey.