Levantine Heritage
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Rose Marie Caporal | Alessandro Pannuti | Ft Joe Buttigieg | Mary Lemma | Antoine ‘Toto’ Karakulak | Willie Buttigieg | Erika Lochner Hess | Maria Innes Filipuci | Catherine Filipuci | Harry Charnaud | Alfred A. Simes | Padre Stefano Negro | Giuseppe Herve Arcas | Filipu Faruggia | Mete Göktuğ | Graham Lee | Valerie Neild | Yolande Whittall | Robert Wilson | Osman Streater | Edward de Jongh | Daphne Manussis | Cynthia Hill | Chris Seaton | Andrew Mango | Robert C. Baker | Duncan Wallace QC | Dr Redvers ‘Red’ Cecil Warren | Nikolaos Karavias | Marianne Barker | Ümit Eser | Helen Lawrence | Alison Tubini Miner | Katherine Creon | Giovanni Scognamillo | Hakkı Sabancalı | Joyce Cully | Jeffrey Tucker | Yusuf Osman | Willem Daniels | Wendy Hilda James | Charles Blyth Holton | Andrew Malleson | Alex Baltazzi | Lorin Washburn | Tom Rees | Charlie Sarell | Müsemma Sabancıoğlu | Marie Anne Marandet | Hümeyra Birol Akkurt | Alain Giraud | Rev. Francis ‘Patrick’ Ashe | Fabio Tito | Pelin Böke | Antonio Cambi | Enrico Giustiniani | Chas Hill | Arthur ‘Mike’ Waring Roberts III | Angela Fry | Nadia Giraud | Roland Richichi | Joseph Murat | George Poulimenos | Bayne MacDougall | Mercia Mason-Fudim née Arcas | Eda Kaçar Özmutaf | Quentin Compton-Bishop | Liz Knight-Gök | Charles F. Wilkinson | Antony Wynn | Anna Laysa Di Lernia | Pierino & Iolanda Braggiotti | Philip Mansel | Bernard d’Andria | Achilleas Chatziconstantinou | Enrichetta Micaleff | Enrico Aliotti Snr. | Patrick Grigsby | Anna Maria and Rinaldo Russo | Mehmet Yüce | Wallis Kidd | Jean-Pierre Giraud | Osman Öndeş | Jean François d’Andria | Betty McKernan | Frederick de Cramer | Emilio Levante | Jeanne Glennon LeComte | Jane Spooner | Richard Seivers | Frances Clegg
Karşıyaka resident

A distant relative of Loucienne Arcas, is the owner of the same named, ‘Arkas’ large haulage firm in Izmir. His ancestors came from Venice around 1850 to work for the English run railways. Possibly the son of the first arrival, Giuseppe, operated a 1,200 acre farm in Salihli containing vines and 2,000 sheep. He was a ‘wheeler-dealer’ of the time and amongst his business interests was the export of raisins. The off-load point of this produce was the still standing Kızlarağası han (Konak, Gümrük quarter) and was brought here by train or camel. During the 1922 war, both the farm and possessions piled high on the train platform were burnt and destroyed.

After the war he built 3 houses in Karşıyaka and these were used by both by himself and his then school attending children. Because his farm was destroyed he retired. The land was sold in the year of 1943 for 75,000TL. The family were unable to make later use of these houses which had become listed properties, were sold for cheap to a person, who finds a way to knock these down and in around 1980, constructs a 5 story block in their place. Giuseppe still retains the drawings of this row of houses.

The father of Giuseppe, Albert had a relative working at the Izmir branch of the American Standard Oil (later Mobil) corporation who was an assistant manager and he himself started working there in 1927 (at the time 80 kurus=1$), stayed with them till 1962, rising up to the position of assistant manager.

Giuseppe too worked there between 1950-60, as a clerk (storehouse and city service). He worked in a total of 10 companies and the first place he started work was as a salesman with Benyamin Amado who traded in sacks. Later for a year at the Banca Commerciale Italia, an old Levantine family run firm C.J. Giraud (export of raisins, cotton and tobacco, operating between 1900s-1990s) for a year as a clerk, Dewilux paints (bosses of Austrian background Dermond family, later sale to Durmus Yasar, emigration to Austria 1980s) for 21 years as a cashier and accountant, leaving 1983, for 10 years Kontuar Maritime (Greek shipping agents) and still working there part-time.

For his primary schooling Giuseppe goes to the Alsancak Italian (still functioning, behind the Italian cultural centre), later to the French St. Joseph lycee.

In his youth, public transport in Karşıyaka was only provided by horse-drawn trams (1930-40s) and from the Pier one could go to Soğukkuyu, Bostanlı (undeveloped then, a place to eat fish) and Alaybey. Towards the Girne exit, the side opposite the present day Karşıyaka marriage hall were segregated swimming baths. The houses by the seashore had their own pier and wooden baths attached and the sea was approximately 50 m. more inland than today. During the 1940s in all of Karşıyaka there were a total of 5 private motor cars (Mercury, Ford, Desotto, and Chevrolet). The owners of these cars were Tius (Italian, jeweller), Dr. Karaali, Braggiotti (Italian, merchant), a Turkish birth doctor whose name he has forgotten and the Turk Lütfi Krom who had a medicine storehouse [advert]. The daughter of Lütfi bey married the rich Izmir businessman, Selçuk Yaşar and their grandchildren are still alive. City buses only came to Karşıyaka around 1945. In that period the population of Karşıyaka was around 16,000 and an important segment were Christian, which has declined seriously over the years. The present Jewish community of Karşıyaka is also insignificant.

Many of the old Karşıyaka Catholic families now live in Izmir. Among these are Tonna (Maltese background), Borg (Maltese and jewellers today), Braggiotti (Italian, merchant background), Gallia (Maltese?, one of the old partners of the BMC motor works), Solari (Italian) etc.

Of the Catholic families still living in Karşıyaka are Petrizza (Italian), Pennetti (Italian, nail and hardware factory owner), Missir, Caleia (Maltese), Casagrande (Italian), Löhner (German – Bostanli), Faruggia (Maltese, from Alsancak), Reggio (Italian), Edizel (French?), Gloghini (Italian), Padulano (Sicily, from Bayrakli) and Deportu (Venice).

One of the reasons for the change of residence of families such as Faruggia is the running down of their former neighbourhoods.

Due to the law that came into force in 1937-38 preventing foreigners from practicing small trades and as artisans, thousands of Maltese and Italians emigrated. The Catholic middle class disappeared and the majority of the Italians moved to the then Italian controlled island of Rhodes while the Maltese migrated to countries of the British empire such as Australia. Prior to this law many Maltese were artisans while the Italians tended to have mid-sized businesses.

According to the information provided at the time by the mother of Giuseppe, Eugenie, the bell on the tower of the Greek church Aya Fotini (sacred light) was the gift of the Russian Tsar to the local Greeks and the bell could be heard from Karsiyaka.

The former owners of the still remaining houses along the Karşıyaka coastal strip are, Isçimenler (Turkish merchant), Löhner (German, raisin exporter, next to Osmanbey park, sale to a Turk and with construction permission banned, abandoned and now a ruin), next along Pennetti, D’Andria, Van der Zee (vacant, Dutch ship broker, no remaining family, office in Izmir still active, centre in Athens), Alliotti mansion (now the residence of Durmus Yaşar) opposite the marriage bureau. When Mr Alliotti sold the house he moved to Rhodes where he established an alcohol factory. In 1945 with the islands returning to Greek control, the venture comes to an end.

The shipping brokerage firm operated by the Alsancak Dutch family Dutilh is sold a few years ago to an Istanbul family for a high sum.

The banks street (no 1715) was in its time populated by many Levantines including Braggiotti, Filipuci (Italian, clerk), Depolo, Palamari, Pennetti (all Italian, merchants), Romano (Italian, shipping agent) and Tonna (Maltese, clerk).

The Frenchman, Peret was the architect and builder of both the Konak clock tower and the Karşıyaka Latin Catholic church.


to top of page interview date 2001