Between the years of 2000-2002 two groups of people were in dispute. New faces, new people … The boarding members of the Traders Foundation of Grand Bazaar. Back then, I was the general secretaıy of the Foundation. The fiı·st decision that we made was not to receive any donations for any of the decoration jobs. Because, “I donated to the foundation, I can pay others as well and do whatever I want” idea of the donators’ had to come to an end. The annual fee for the members of the foundation was ridiculous. According to the nmency of the time, it was ı million liras for the insured, and two million liras for the administrators, and nobody was actually paying it. However, when it came to painting the walls, private d ecorations and shutter renewals, thousands of dollars were mentioned, and most of them were not officially billed.
If the foundation had accepted donations as it used to, according to my calculations based on the applications in two years, there would be a large sum of money, more than one million dollars. There also used to be a tradition. Most of the traditions were forgotten, but not this one. These things were not to be spoken publicly, and should never ever be written down. So to speak, they dug the ground to build basements, they demolisbed ı, ı .s m eter wide columns in order to maxinıize the space of the stores, but these were all considered as private matters.
On the other hand, the roof was so loaded that it was about collapse. The water tıunks were one thing, but when I saw that a huge tree had grown on the roof, I was shocked. Plus, the material used in the constıı.ıction of the roof was so primi- tive. l(!hile tons of money was spent for the inner renovations, the roof was worse than a roof of a slum house. And it is stili the same today. One way or another, we could not talk them into replacing the old plaster, sand and tile with the modem isolation system which weighs ? less and costs the same.
The floor was wom out here and there, and the holes were filled with asphalt as a seıvice (!) of the city after we had requested it for a long time. People were stumbling as they stepped into these uneven surfaces, and this floor full of holes was a disgrace for the Bazaar which was the heritage of the Empire. The effects of careinagen were far more dangerous. In these two years, the three fifth of the floors were renewed. I wished that nicer and better quality materials, which can suit the Bazaar more, were used. Unfoıtunately, we did not have such a luxuıy. Just in case, we decided to order the same stones that the govemment used after the fire of ı954. After two years, we lost the election by six votes. We were acquitted after being on trial in the high erimina I couıt for a year. However, when the Couıt of Appeals clisputec the clecision, we were back in couıt again. This case, which lastecl for seven years, was stili in process when I was getting this book reacly to be publisbecl. Nine friencls from the other group suecl us. Allegeclly, we hannecl the histarical asphalt
March issue. Many obstacles were encounterecl white preparing dıis supplement which was a free aclvenisenıent special to dıe Bazaar. The items were being bon·owecl from each store by paying dıeir real values, anel their pictures were being taken in special stuclios. As the items were returneel to dıe store, dıe money was given back. We never could have afforclecl such a big aclveıtisement. We went to a big store nameel Ali Baba, anel the inciclent we had experienced there had upset me so muclı. The total price of the item samples dıat was picked for the photo slıoot was not ınuch, but the owner said “No, Once the items are out of dıe store, dıey can not be refunclecl.” Bogazici Magazine, whiclı is publishecl by dıe Boğaziçi University Alumni Assosiation anel clistributed to tlıousancls, is an impoıtant publication. Again, on their March issue, they sparecl eight pages to the Grancl Bazaar. In it~ first week of the same March, Tempo magazine also sparecl six pages for us. Tiıus, dıe month of March was literally an aclveıtisement mondı for the Bazaar. For two months, dıere were new customers whom we had never seen before. They climinishecl graclually. I believe, they woulcl still keep coming clespite the problems of traffic anel parking, if we clid not tıy so lıarcl to clrive thenı out. We are loacled widı bad habits from tip to toe. ‘·Oh, welcome, come in ma’am … Let me help .. .Is there any specific tbing that you are looking for. .. ” The same utterances in 90% of the streets. In all sixty r.vo stı·eets anel roacls .. . In 90% of the dıree tlıousancl stoı·es.. Tlıen NC keep whining !ike, “oh dı e business is clying.” Of co~ırse, customers woulcl not come to dıe Bazaar, where our daugbters anel wives clo not feel comfoıtable to come to.