Grand Bazaar Special Issue Magazine

In May 2004, duıing the election in the Bazaar, Dr.Hasan Fırat was elected as the chairman. At the time, we collected eight full trucks of garbage from the roof in a d1ree-month period. Plus, the remnants of d1e restorations done by fue tradesmen as well as big water bins were left on d1e roof. The water leak on the roof had already damaged fue coluınns in the Inner Bedestan. W e were on the eve of a great danger, but no one was hearing us. Wid1 d1e last penny I had, I published d1e sixd1 issue of the Grand Bazaar Magazine. I was d1e vice chairman of d1e assodation hut I again had to pay for the magazine’s expenses out of my own pocket since the assodation had no money and the tradesmen were unwilling. I had to publish this last issue hecause it was going to be clevoted to Rifat Dedeoğlu. Moreover, The Touring and Automobile Club President Çelik Gülersoy, who was an İstanbul !over, had written an aniele for d1is issue and gave me the pictures for it only two days prior to his death. In addition to d1at, Taha Toros have encouraged me to work on this issue wid1 his rich archive. On this last issue, what I wantecl to emphasize was fue need of an offical administrative organization that the Grand Bazaar lacks.

Once, it was more difficult to be a tradesman in d1e Grand Bazaar than to be the governor of Damascus. T11ere were not any written rules back then, but there were tacit rules whicl1 had to be obeyed by eveıyone. Some sections in the cabinet shaped stores were seıving as safes. T11e safes in Cevahir Bedestan were used by many rich people of the area. Incidents !ike fires, eaıthquakes, or robberies were not able to hann this place. Who do you d1ink had changed and conı_ıpted this place which caused jealousy and acimiration upon d1e people who saw it? Who is capable of causing such a transfoımation except its own people? Being a tradesman in the Grand Bazaar ı.ısed to be a prestigious position in society. The tradesman was a role model to the society with its oudook anel behaviors. These tradesmen, who are d1e backbones of fue society, were not only eloing trade but also manufactuıing, and they had d1e knowledge of d1e product as much as the manufacturers themselves. Each store was !ike a smail school, and d1e Grand Bazaar was a huge university. T11e neighbor rights were taken seriously.

Any tradesman, who did something wrong, was casred out. It was forbielelen to argue with the customer anel each problem had to be solveel maturely. T11e tı-adesmen were not greedy. If a tradesman clicl not obey the nıles, he would have to leave. With fueir own mles, laws anel traditions, d1ere were d1e guilcls which all the tradesmen were subjecteel to. T11ese gui!d<; useel to amınge the tı-aelesmen-state, tı·adesmen-customers relations, along with the relations between d1emselves. It had quite an impact on elifferent levels of business life until the first constitutional era. As they prevented surplus by contı·olling production, they bindereel high consumption as well. T11ey also dicl not allow any cheating !ike seliing overpriced goocls. In 1913, Union and Progress Pmty had annulled the guild organizations. TI1e most impoıtant reason of this was the corruption d1at was revealed in some orgmıizations. Duıing the Ortaman Empire’s weakening peıiod, d1e coııı_ıption appeared in this veıy significant organization as well; even money was stolen from the donation boxes. After a shoıt period of time, World War I, followed by d1e War of Independence, had elongateel the period. Without any laws and systems, Gı:ıncl Bazaar was again forgotten duıing the establishment of Turkish Republic. What is stı·iking is that, even after eighty years, nobody notices the lack of an official aclministrative ~ystem in d1e Grancl Bazaar. Legal an-angements, which even a smail buiJeling with three apaıtments would have, does not exist in Gı-and Bazaar, which has d1ree d1ousand five hı.ındreel stores. Newly built malls do not face these problems because they get built wid1 their management plans, and also, d1eir physical stı·ucture is different.

Ald10ugh the guilds, whose authorities were felt for hundrecls of years, were officially annullecl, they stili keep their impact on the Bazaar until taday wid1 d1e help of traditions and founclations. However, since d1e law stmcnıres of d1ese foundations were not capable of solving all the problems, d1e problems acideel up anel became unsolvable. For that reason, a roaclmap had to be drawn up for d1e Grancl Bazaar. In orcler to deteımine the problems and d1e solutions to those problems scientifıcially and officially, a conference was held in İstanbul Chamber of Commerce on Februmy 2005 wid1 a large nwnber of paıticipants.

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