The touristic Istanbul sweetshop famous for its tasty profiteroles and a symbol to Istanbul’s Beyoglu district saw its tragic end today after a local court decided to transfer its building to another firm.
Istanbul / NationalTurk – A favorite of locals and tourists, the longstanding Istanbul sweetshop, known for introducing profiteroles to Turkey, did not survive to celebrate another new year after local court decided to transfer the building that houses it to another firm for renovational purposes.
‘ İnci Patisserie [Pastanesi]’s place is here, in Beyoğlu. Shall we lose the court case, we do not intend to open anywhere else,’ manager Musa Ateş, who has been working at the shop on İstiklal Avenue for 51 years, had told one month ago.
The fate of the historical shop, which has been operating at its central location in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district for 67 years and retains its original atmosphere, was resting on a local court decision set to be made Feb. 9.
But the Turkish high court of appeal approved the eviction rule for the patisserie and the sweetshop is being emptied as of now, among protests from owners, workers and a group of activists.
Emekli Sandığı (Retirement Trust), the owner of the building where İnci Pastanesi is located, has decided to rent the entire building for 49 years to a single firm – identified by Ateş as Tamer İnşaat – which will also undertake work to restore the building. All shops renting space there have been asked to vacate the premises.
Though the sweetshop managed to keep the court from executing a decision, İnci then received a second notification, this time saying the patisserie had ‘ caused losses to the trust, ‘ according to Ateş. “We have regularly paid the rent for 67 years; I do not see what losses the trust refers to,” he said. “We will make use of all our rights, but will in the end respect the court decision, whatever it is.”
One of the oldest shops on İstiklal Avenue, İnci Pastanesi remains an authentic slice of old Istanbul. Its low tables are packed with customers in the evenings, when it is difficult to even find a place to stand within the patisserie’s wooden walls. Residents and tourists alike acknowledge the shop as home to the city’s best profiteroles and expressed distress at its possible closure.
Protesters called on various times on the Beyoglu municipality run by AKP ( the ruling Justice and Development Party) and the Culture Ministry to take immediate action to save the patisserie. It is sick that this place is not be thought of as a commercial one. It is a living cultural heritage.
İnci Pastanesi is one of the shops in a 136-year-old Baroque- and Rococo-style building constructed in 1884 by architect Alexandre Vallaury. It was used as a hunters’ club, a gymnasium and a venue for Nouveau Cirque (New Circus), before becoming home in 1924 to the Angel (Melek) Cinema, which changed its name to Emek Cinema in the 1940s.
İnci Patisserie had been the unchanged address of profiterole in Istanbul since 1944 opened by Lukas Zgoridis. Today, the taste of the profiteroles and the decoration of the building remain its originality against time under the direction of Musa Ateş, apprentice of Lukas Zgoridis, a Greek-Turk chief almost 70 years ago
The well-known movie theater Emek Theater had to shut down in early 2010 for the same reasons İnci is now getting closed. Cinema lovers unsuccessfully organized protests and signature campaigns to try and save the theater.
It is ironic that İnci Patisserie lies next to Demiroren AVM Shopping Mall, owned by Demiroren group. The CEO of the group is Yıldırım Demiroren , former Besiktas chairman now president of Turkish Football Federation. The gargantuan Shopping Mall’s building and opening had been most controversial, as the matter is at court now. Claims state taht the building of the mall is illegal and the land title was obtained illegaly and the construction works destroyed a fragment of the nearby mosk’s fundamental.
Yıldırım Demiroren had opened his mall last year with a show-off grand opening, where absurdly Cristiano Ronaldo was invited. The crowd gathered was simply too much and the gfootballer felt threatened in the growing crowd and did not show up.