“In April 2021 while delivering groceries in a dense suburb of Istanbul, Ahmet passed through a small puddle while making a turn. He slipped and fell from his motorbike, sustaining injuries to his hand that still bother him to this day. Ahmet, 30, who drives for Banabi, the grocery branch of Turkey’s flagship delivery company Yemeksepeti (Turkish for ‘Food Basket’), blamed the accident on the cheaply made tyres that his employers require their couriers to use. It wasn’t his first crash.
“I’ve been driving motorbikes for nearly ten years, but the bikes that the company provides for us to use have tyres that will cause you to slip and fall, even during the summer while making a small turn on a straight road that isn’t wet,” Ahmet told Equal Times in December, preferring not to use his real name for fear of retribution. “On one hand, they want us to be very quick, on the other hand the equipment beneath you is no good.”
Founded in 2001 as Turkey’s first online restaurant delivery service, Yemeksepeti has grown rapidly, particularly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the company added more than five million users, according to its own figures, taking its total user base to 19 million. The company is one of Turkey’s most popular food delivery apps, with its main competitor being Getir, a Turkish company that has also grown extensively, even expanding abroad in Europe and the United States. International rivals including Uber Eats, Glovo and Deliveroo do not currently operate in the Turkish market. In 2015, Yemeksepeti was purchased by the German giant Delivery Hero for more than US$500 million. In 2019, it launched Banabi, a grocery delivery service,”