The first match factory of the Ottoman Empire is on sale for 70 million liras

The first match factory of the Ottoman Empire, built by the French during the reign of Abdülhamid II in the 19th century in Küçükçekmece, has been put up for sale by families with shares for 70 million liras. Eda Akalın, one of the inheritors of the factory, said, "My grandfather bought the factory with his partner to produce rubber boots. When the First World War broke out, he could not realize his dream."

The first match factory of the Ottoman Empire is on sale for 70 million liras

The factory, being idle for many years, was registered as a 1st degree historical monument in 1991 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and was taken under protection.

The iron construction frame of the factory, whose walls were destroyed due to lack of care, remains intact. Its doors and windows were damaged, trees and grasses emerged in it. The decoil rails laid in the factory to carry the matches under the conditions of the period have also survived until today. The building, which consists of two parcels with 15 thousand 377 square meters of land, is a commercial property with a closed area of 5 thousand square meters.


Shareholder families continue to use the factory, which they divided into 5 separate sections, to run their own businesses. One of the families uses it for their marble business, while the other uses it for the production of rubber bands. The building is generally used as a warehouse and will be evacuated after its sale.


Eda Akalın, one of the fourth generation inheritors of the factory, said, "It was one of the buildings sold as a factory property with the establishment of the Republic. My great-grandfather and one more person bought this place as 2 families to establish a rubber boots factory. When they go abroad to buy both machinery and raw materials, the 1st World War breaks out and they return to the country without getting anything. For this reason, the factory remains idle, deaths and births ocur in both families and the families expand. This place is very big, we could not come into agreement with other families. Since it is a historical artifact, we cannot manage and use it. That's why we have decided to sell it. It can be used as many purposes such as factory, cultural center, shopping center, restaurant, entertainment complex. However, it cannot be used as a house, because it has the status of a historical monument. It can be restored and similar buildings can be built around it but it can not be destructed from outside.” 


Stating that the restoration is very costly, Akalın said, “We inherited the factory from our grandfathers. We are a total of 20 people in 5 families, we want to sell the building because everyone is doing different jobs. We would very much like the state to evaluate this place. We are in favor of it being sold to the Turks. We did not make any changes in it. It looks like the way it was built. We try to protect it, but as time changes everything, it also damages property. "We did not take any action because the restoration was very costly.”


Cultural Heritage Management Specialist from Istanbul Gelisim University Lecturer İlknur Türkoğlu said, "The match factory is an important cultural and industrial heritage. This is the first match factory of the Ottoman Empire, which started production in 1897. At that time, the factory had 200 workers and 50 personnel, mostly women. The production stopped when there was a shortage of raw materials in the early 1900s. It was registered in 1991 and was declared a 1st degree protection area in 1993.


Stating that the restoration work was carried out in the first block of the factory in 2005, Türkoğlu said, “The other blocks are used by the shareholder families for various purposes, but unfortunately they cannot be adequately preserved. Sections other than the first block have been put up for sale. The entire factory area should be expropriated as an industrial heritage as soon as possible. I would like it to be restored and to be transformed into an urban identity as a cultural center by organizing it to reflect its industrial heritage identity. Historical buildings can also be preserved even if they are used. But of course we have to use them correctly.”


Emphasizing that it was one of the important factories built by the Ottoman Empire during the Westernization period, Türkoğlu said, “In 1893, the Ottoman Empire made a commercial agreement with the French. After the agreement, the French financed the building of factory. There was a problem in the supply of raw materials, then the 1st World War began, so the life of the factory couldn’t be so long.”.

Edited date: 18.05.2021
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