Emek Cinema: Contesting Istanbul's Urban Development

Episode 342

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In this episode, we discuss the history of Beyoğlu's Emek Cinema from its construction in 1884 to its 2013 destruction, which sparked major opposition among Turkish intellectuals, writers, researchers, members of the film industry, and lovers of cinema and of Beyoğlu, many of whom fought to keep this piece of Istanbul's cultural and architectural heritage. Through a wide-ranging discussion with architects and historians, this episode shows how the history of one building can speak to trajectories of urban development, violence, and transformation in Istanbul from Ottoman times until today.

This episode is part of a series entitled "Urban Space in the Ottoman World."

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Contributor Bios

Lorans Tanatar Baruh is currently Associate Director of Research and Programs at SALT. Her interest areas include late Ottoman economic, social, and urban history, the history of Istanbul and Eastern Mediterranean port cities, and archives and digitisation.
Seda Kula Say received her PhD in Architectural History from Istanbul Technical University. Currently, she teaches at Gebze Technical University in the Faculty of Architecture. Her research interests include Ottoman architecture, Ecole des Beaux Arts and eclecticism, and 19th century Ottoman cities.
Selcen Coşkun graduated with a bachelors' degree in Architecture from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, where she also received her PhD degree in Heritage Conservation. During 2014-2015 she was a post-doctoral visitor at the University of York in the UK. Since 2006, she has been teaching heritage conservation to architecture students at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.
Nilay Özlü received her PhD in History from Bogazici University with her dissertation titled "From Imperial Palace to Museum: The Topkapi Palace during the Long Nineteenth Century." Currently, she teaches at Istanbul Bilgi University and Altinbas University in the Department of Architecture. Her research interests include architectural and urban history, museum studies, and critical architectural theory.
Susanna Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Gender and Childrearing in Egypt and Lebanon, 1865-1939."
Matthew Ghazarian is a Ph.D. Candidate in Columbia University's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, African Studies. His research focuses on the intersections of sectarianism, humanitarianism, and political economy in central and eastern Anatolia between 1856 and 1893.


Episode No. 342
Release Date: 23 January 2018
Recording Location: SALT Galata, Istanbul
Audio editing by Matthew Ghazarian
Music: Katibim (Uskudar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla, Harmandali-Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi
Images and bibliography courtesy of Lorans Tanatar Baruh, Selcen Coşkun, and Seda Kula Say


Site plan of the area (Detail from d'Ostoya Map,1858). Courtesy of Seda Kula Say.

Founders of Cercle d'Orient (Cercle d'Orient Yönetim Kurulu Defteri toplantı tutanakları, 1882). Courtesy of Seda Kula Say.

Ruins after the Pera Great Fire, 1870, Courtesy of SALT Research with the kind permission of David M. Kohen. Courtesy of Lorans Tanatar Baruh.

The newly opened Deveaux Street and his property next to the Cercle d'Orient building. From Goad, Charles E. (1905), Plan d'assurance de Constantinople, Vol II. Péra & Galata, No: 39. Institut Française d'Etudes Anatoliennes. Courtesy of Lorans Tanatar Baruh.

 Emek Cinema (Bozis ve Bozis, 2014:109). Courtesy of Seda Kula Say.

The Cercle d'Orient and Deveaux buildings, 2004. From a poster on Istiklal Street, Beyoğlu Municipality, 2004. Courtesy of Lorans Tanatar Baruh.

Emek Protests, 2013. Courtesy of Selcen Coşkun.

Grand Pera today. Courtesy of Selcen Coşkun.

Select Bibliography

Akın, N. (1998), 19. Yüzyılın Ikinci Yarısında Galata ve Pera, Beyoğlu, Literatür, İstanbul

Baruh, Lorans Tanatar, Seda Kula Say, Selcen B. Coşkun, "Emek Sineması, Cercle d'Orient ve Bir Beyoğlu Hikayesi", ed. Nilay Özlü, Mimar.ist 57, Güz 2016, ss.23-62.

Batuman, B. (2015), "'Everywhere is Taksim': The Politics of Public Space from Nation-Building to Neoliberal Islamism and Beyond", Journal of Urban History, 41, 5, 881-907.

Bozis, Y., S. Bozis (2014), Paris'ten Pera'ya Sinema ve Rum Sinemacılar, İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayıncılık

Can, C. (1994), "Cercle d'Orient Mimari", Dünden Bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi (c. 2, s. 409-410), İstanbul: Kültür Bakanlığı - Tarih Vakfı

Çelik, Z. (1986), The Remaking of Istanbul: Portrait of an Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century, University of Washington Press, Seattle

Eldem, E. (1998), 135 Yıllık Bir Hazine. Osmanlı Bankası Arşivinden İzler, Osmanlı Bankası, İstanbul Goad, Charles E. (1905), Plan d'assurance de Constantinople, Vol II. Péra & Galata, No: 39

Günay, Z. (2013) Renewal Agenda in Istanbul: Urbanisation vs. Urbicide, International Journal of Architecture and Planning, Volume 3, Issue 1, 95-108.

Harvey, D. (2012), Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, Verso, New York

Huber (1895), Plan de Péra, Taxim, Pancaldi et Feriköy, plan dressé en 1887-91 et rectifié en grande partie en 1895.

Keyder, Ç. (1999), Istanbul: Between the Global and the Local, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD

Kula Say, S. (2014), Beaux Arts Kökenli Bir Mimar Olarak Alexandre Vallaury'nin Meslek Pratiği ve Eğitimciliği Açısından Kariyerinin İrdelenmesi, Doktora Tezi, İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü, İstanbul

Kuruyazıcı, H. (2008), "Beyoğlu'nda Yok Edilen İki Kültür Varlığı: Lüks ve Saray Sinemaları", Oyun, no. 2, May-June.

Letsch, C. (2013) "Turkey's Historic Emek Theatre Facing Final Curtain", The Guardian, 15 April. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/15/turkey-historic-emek-theatre-finalcurtain

Logan, W. S. (2008) "UNESCO, Cultural Diversity, Cultural Heritage and Human Rights", 3rd International UNESCO Memory of the World Conference Keynote Speaker, 19–22 Şubat 2008, Canberra: http://www.amw.org.au/mow2008/mow/spea-kerPapers/LoganPaper.pdf

Markevičienė, J. (2011) "Protection of Human Rights To the City and Preservation of Historic Urban Landscapes: Ways to Coherence", Town Planning and Architecture, Volume 35, Issue 4, 301–309.

Naum-Duhani, S. (1947), Vieilles Gens Vieilles Demeures Topographie Sociale de Beyoğlu au XIXeme Siecle. İstanbul: Touring et Automobile Club de Turquie

Salman Y. (2006), 1870'lerden 2050'lere Beyoğlu Nereye?, Societa Operaia Italiana, Sergi ve Yarışma, 1-25, June 2016, Demirören Gayrimenkul, İstanbul.

Scognamillo, G. (2008), Bir Levantenin Beyoğlu Anıları, İstanbul: Metis Yayınları

Tanatar Baruh, L. (2009), "The Transformation of the 'Modern' Axis of Nineteenth-Century Istanbul: Property, Investments and Elites from Taksim Square to Sirkeci Station", Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Boğaziçi University.


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