First day of autumn in Fıçıcı Abdi Sokak

Today for the first time we had the chance of actually catching a glimpse of the demolition from the inside of a building being torn down – the workers were out on a break and for once, nobody from the Municipality was about.


The building in question is No. 17 of Fıçıcı Abdi Sokak (or Firinci Sokak), a relatively high building of five storeys that had been erected in the 1980s. Şahin runs the metal coating workshop specializing in women’s accessories next door. Fıçıcı Abdi Sokak houses two more workshops like his, all of them producing parts of women’s handbags, belts and fashion jewellery. Şahin has worked here for 36 years, and remembers the building next to his being constructed about 25 years ago. According to him, No. 17 has never been used or inhabited. “They built it, it stood empty, and now they are tearing it down” is his only comment as he watches a group men recovering scrap metal from the demolition site and loading it onto a truck parked in front of the house. These metal recyclers pull out rusted iron rods, bars and sheets from the now useless skeleton of building No. 17.

As we all stand there watching, the metal recyclers carry out the bent door of what used to be an elevator with a few red cables sticking out from its side. Nobody ever rode it, but now it will earn the recyclers a few liras. Some of the gaping window-frames are covered with dirty blankets, but they cannot keep clouds of dust from flying.

“Is that how you’re supposed to do these things?” an angry neighbour says. “They should evacuate the whole street before doing this. There are people living in the houses left and right of this building; everybody here is bothered by the noise and the dirt.”

Yesterday, the people living in Fıçıcı Abdi Sokak protested against the way the demolition works are conducted, and a few of the neighbours actually took to the street. “They chased away the workers”, someone says. “See, they interrupted the demolition.” Another man disagrees. “No no, they worked here all morning.” At the moment, a couple of abandoned red hard hats are all that indicates their presence.

No. 17 Fıçıcı Abdi Sokak is the third house to be torn down inside the renewal area.

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One Response to First day of autumn in Fıçıcı Abdi Sokak

  1. Frank Hare says:

    Jonathan & Constanze: Your Tarlabasi blog, most fascinating, please continue. I am an interested/curious traveller. On my 2nd visit to IST (Oct 2010), I put aside two days to walk Tarlabasi, mainly to view/shoot the architecture and street scenes. Previous research led me to start at Firinci Sokak, looking for no.17. Just a few doors away in a basement, I saw from street level a jewelry plating shop. Entering and displaying my camera. I was kindly invited in. There I was able to photograph the 67yr old father with several of his 5 sons and their shop. I was also asked to stay for tea, a most enjoyable meeting despite the language barrier, though the father did speak some English. I am now curious if I indeed might have met “Sahin” mentioned in your article. I never did get around to names, it was just “father” and “sons”. I would be pleased to forward said photos for your archives should they be of interest.
    Regards … Frank from Brisbane, Australia

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