Ask Mehmet: IVMA ensures, boosts merchants' customer service

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Ask Mehmet is a forum for people to ask questions of the local area, as well as the outer confines of the region and the country as a whole. To submit a question, send an e-mail with the subject "Ask Mehmet" to Then, look for an answer to the question on the 39th Air Base Wing's official website at and Incirlik Air Base's Facebook page.

Mehmet, I have noticed that some shops in "The Alley" have a flag in their windows or inside that reads IVMA. What does that mean? What is IVMA?

Merchants in the alley founded an association called the Incirlik Village Merchants Association approximately 20 years ago. Each shop with an IVMA flag displayed in the window or inside the shop signed a letter to obey all measures and decisions taken by the IVMA to ensure customers are treated well.

The association implements certain measures to benefit both customers and merchants. For instance, the association banned members from going out of the shop and pulling the arms of the customers into their shops. The association also worked closely with the city of Adana in such efforts as the beautification of "The Alley" by repaving the road.

There are a variety of shops in "The Alley," including carpet dealers, tailors, jewellers, restaurants, discos, copper dealers and leather shops; and approximately 90 percent are IVMA members dedicated to ensuring stores follow IVMA regulations.

While certain actions are not allowed, it is customary for merchants to offer customers a drink, such as Turkish tea, coffee, water or soda. It is highly recommend you be suspicious if offered an alcoholic beverage as this is not allowed. One should also note that walking with open alcohol containers is considered bad taste and is likely to offend locals.

Realizing the importance of security, IVMA works closely with local police who patrol "The Alley" at all hours.

"The American personnel at Incirlik (Air) Base are our main customers. They are our back bone. They are also the guests of our country. Therefore, we should make them feel secure and comfortable here," said Abdulkerim Estetik, IVMA president. "All the shopkeepers here know each other very well. As part of the Turkish tradition once a customer enters our shop he (or) she becomes our guest and we would like to show the Turkish hospitality in the best way. We consider the whole alley as one shop."

IVMA continuously solves problems between members and customers, said IVMA officials, which are often caused by a misunderstanding.

To submit a customer complaint for any "Alley" shop, call Tansel Estetik at 0322-316-346-5070 or e-mail