Greeks blame the European Union for austerity measures their government tried to impose. They’re even threatening to leave the EU as elections loom next month.
Now Turks are blaming the pervasive influence of the EU for their government cracking down on a hallowed tradition: hawkers yelling at customers in the bazaars of Istanbul.
Traders, who have been peddling goods loudly in bazaars since the 14th century, are being instructed to yell more quietly, and more politely.
Oh, and the governing Justice and Development Party is proposing laws mandating that they wash their face and hands.
The hagglers, according to The Wall Street Journal, like the Greeks, haven’t given in.
They are hiring lookouts to warn them when the authorities, who write tickets for $280, are nearby.
And they are yelling anyway: “Spend your money here, because you’re not going to take it to the afterlife.” Some shouts are more crass.
Turkey is a candidate for membership in the European Union.
But hushing hawkers? That’s a lot to ask.
And even in Turkey, there are European-style shopping malls for those who prefer it quieter.