The Grand Bazaar

203Just like people’s genetics are the links between the past and the future, societies and nations carry their characteristics to the future from the past. For a country, contempting, rejecting and being aslıamed of its past is a different thing than deaning out its previous mistakes. The Ottoman Empire is our ancestor. It had its rights and wrongs. The important thing is for us to approach our past objectively. Neither carrying our past to the top by exaggerating nor burying it down to the ground by humiliating would be the right thing. What the art is to see and understand our past as it is. Millions of Indians and black people were murdered in the United States. I don’t know if Americans are aslıamed of it but it is obvious that they do not have any complexes about their past. The British, which entered the countries of free people with guns and economy, and made people slaves. French … , the civilization that killed people in North Africa, who fought against swords with automatic weapons. The civilization of west. Weren’t they the ones who caused the fırst and the second World Wars? Was it the Ottomans who caused the death of millions of people for their own interests? We .have to be proud of our past. And yet, we have complexes about our past instead of feeling proud of being their children … What kind of a drug did they give us? Taday, the Middle East needs a leader, a leader country. Our ancestors made this happen for centuries. There were peace and confıdence in the region. There was justice. Under the flag of Ottoman, ]ews, Armenians, Syrians, Yezidis, Shi’i's, Alawites lived all together. There were Arabs, Circassians, Kurds, Lazs, Greeks and Bulgarians as folks.

The Ottoman didn’t irnpose its culture to the places it went, but rather, protected the existing culture. There wasn’t any use of force. The system of Yavuz Selim had lived for years. The Grand Bazaar. .. A micro economic genius masterpiece that was established by Mehmet the Conqueror. . . Recently, I went to the Grand Bazaar in İstanbul. I specifıcally said İstanbul because there are other cities which have sirnilar bazaar systerns. In the covered bazaars of same cities, which used to be Ottoman cities although they are currently outside of our borders, you see not the traces of it, but the Ottoman itself. Damascus, Halab, Cairo, Baghdad, Mecca … The bazaar that was built by Sultan Abdülhamit and called by his name in Darnascus … The g(ant covered bazaar in Halab which starts from the castle down to the city… Also, in Cairo, the covered bazaar which touches Al-Azhar. .. All these things happerred according to a system and logic plan. A system, which is considered the main vessel of a guild organization that centeralizes the economic structure and requires cooperation. And we have always neglected it. The Grand Bazaar in İstanbul, that is predicted to be 550 years old, is waiting for attention. It is surrounded by illegal buildings. The in and out traffıc is !ike the way it is in the third world countries. The trucks that unload goods, horns, traffıc, people who can’t cross the street. .. If you can succeed to enter the Bazaar, the confusion inside screarns the historic unfairness towards this place. Until taday, the Bazaar has not been used for its purpose of establishment. It doesn’t have an offıcial management.

Can you imagine? There is only an association. It is not for certain who is in charge and who is not. Is it the Provincial Municipality, the Council of Monuments, the Ministry of Tourism or the Metropolitan Municipality, or is it the Chamber of Labor? It is just a chaos. There, I met a person who devoted himself to the Grand Bazaar for years. He is a tradesman but his heart is the Grand Bazaar. Attila Özbey has been trying to publish The Grand Bazaar Magazine for a while to keep the mentality of Bazaar fresh. There are three thousand six hundred stores in the Bazaar. But, it doesn’t have an offıcial management. There isn’t a managernem to make arrangements, take care of the restorations and transportations, alsa to protect histarical places, remove bad sights and solve the tradesmen’s problerns. It is not like we  can’t’ take care of this inheritance from our ancestors well, we just ‘don’t’. The things that we don’t want to happen, get lost in the procedures. When we want it to happen, it happens. Let’s see who will undertake this historical, cultural and social mission. If this bazaar, in which 100 thousand people work, is paid attention as much as shopping plazas are, who knows how much the tradesmen would advance. Its sixty two streets and alleys would revive again and the twenty two gates would start to have action. If we can’t know how to value the things that remain from our ancestors, others will build bazaars and present them in the name of civilization. With the advertisements and publicity, we would think this is what the civilization is. Let’s leave our complexes aside and take a look at what our ancestors did. Let’s get our hands busy. This is our genetic obligation.

Fatih Böbürler

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