As the Grand Bazaar Tradesmen Foundation, we staıted a project with İstanbul Culture and Touıism Office in the midst of 2004. W e decided to arrange a search conference. For this conference, related and expeıt scientists and intellectuals were going to be invited in order to discuss the problems and nment state of the Bazaar in depth, and later a road map was going to be deteımined. Metin Sözen, the head of Çektil Foundation, was also fully suppoıting this project. We had a bıief meeting with Metin Sözen and dıe president of İstanbul Culture and Touıism Office. Later, we starteel to work at high pressuı·e for the preparations. We formed a budget with the help of responsive tradesmen. W e worked in dıe office of the Grand Bazaar Magazine. We found spansors among various newspapers, joumals and TV channels. İstanbul Chamber of Commerce assigned its conference room for the conference.
We detennined a date for dıe conference, on which dıe prime ıninister was going to be in İstanbul. We prepared a seven minute long movie so we could visually present all the problems of Grand Bazaar. Voiceover was done by Mesut Mercan, who also dicl the voiceovers for the campaign movies of dıe political paıty in power. Onjanuaıy 3lst, 2005, widı a press conference, the SEARCH Conference was officially announced together with the deputy govemor, dıe presiclent of İstanbul Culture and Tourism Office and the Grand Bazaar Tradesmen Foundation in Cebeci Inn. After three months of harci work, eveıything was ready. I had even prepared a brochure, on which I bıiefly mentioneel the problems of the Grand Bazaar. After dıe press conference, dıe City of Enıi.ııönl’ı wanted to paıticipate in our project anel did. Widı dıe special effoıts of Kemal Baltepe, member of our board of directors, and Önder Bayıı·, the director of dıe Ottoman Archives, some archives were scanned anel an exibition of arouncl a hunclred old documents and edicts was organized. The expert scientists and intellectuals have workecl extensively for two whole days. Representatives from rwenty eight related state depaıtments joined dıe conference. First tinıe in its history a road map was being drawn up for the Bazaar. The results were almost identical to dıe problems and solutions I statecl on the brochure. After all, we were d1e ones living with these problems eveıyday; therefore, they were mosdy our problems. Widı d1is conference, all those problems were bodı officially anel scientifically confiımecl. All that was left was to have the will to apply the solutions. Despite dıe fact that dıree full years had passed since dıe conference, we haven’t heard from anyone. I hope necessary steps will be taken soon widıout sacıificing dıe main goal for shoıt-teım political benefits. Because we as dıe tradesmen, di d o ur best anel put all the problems foıward. The rest is the law maker’s and law enforcement officer’s job.